Il colore della Colonna Traiana
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: n.s. 2019, 2020
The Colours of Trajan’s Column
There are Renaissance works of art in which ancient monuments appear painted in bright colours, in particular the Arch of Constantine and Trajan’s Column. In ancient times, the Column originally had elements added to the marble that were certainly of gold or gilded. However, during the 1981-1988 restoration no traces of colour or preparatory work were found on the marble surface. The only chromatic element to be found was a patina, orange-yellow in colour on some exposures, and golden on others. The patina had been noticed by artists during the Renaissance, and certainly even before then. This is evidently one of the origins of the monochrome genre in painting. In fact, numerous famous monochrome cycles are based on Trajan’s Column. In the nineteenth century, the storied frieze became the subject of a dispute over the colour of ancient monuments.