I always love seeing this fact pop up. Yeah, what we thought was the ancients just being really cool and aesthetic was actually the gaudy colors fading away over time. It’s like when people think that old houses were built better than they are now, when it’s really just that the shitty houses all fell down already.
Ummmm but the problem is not so much that they weren’t being “cool and aesthetic”; it’s that this entire western concept of aesthetics is built on a mistake.
fittingly, I was just reading this:
The Parthenon marbles Elgin took to Britain do consist of marble, but a darkly pitted Greek marble rather than the smooth, snowy white variety more common in Italy. Here lay an aesthetic problem: whiteness versus color. The alarming history of European marble “cleaning” includes a chapter on this statuary describing a drive to make ancient Greek art white that nearly destroyed the art itself. In the 1930s workers in the British Museum were directed to remove the dark patina with metal tools on the mistaken assumption that their proper color should be white. Such a “cleaning” seriously damaged the Parthenon marbles, prompting an inquiry by the museum’s standing committee that halted the work.
—Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People, page 63
It’s particularly obnoxious given the claims by so many British people that the marbles had to be removed to Britain in order to protect them.
The bold: People should really know about that, too.
And yes, it is connected with this article about Chromophobia and colonialism
which is also connected to the Reformation.
Especially if you think about (at least in an American context) the way that Catholicism has been, to a large degree, racialized. And how the Catholic Mass and other traditions came to be associated with licentiousness and was condemned for its use of decoration (aside form legitimate gripes with corruption).
see also: Calvinist Iconoclasm:
OMG!!! I FORGET PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THIS!
Yes, all those aloof, “pure” white statues from Ancient Greece?
They actually looked like this:
Vinzenz Brinkmann, much to the apparent chagrin of Westerners everywhere, used ultraviolet light to reveal the original paint schemes of these statues that the millennia had washed away.
And to underscore the Chromophobia?
In the summer of 1566, spurred on by the sermons of Calvinist preachers, zealous mobs descended on churches in the Netherlands, intent on ridding them entirely of their imagery. Many churches were literally white-washed.
All of these things are connected.
reblogging for someone who recently asked about this.
Someone also asked about over-cleaning or modifications made to various Greek and roman works in European Possession.
Medieval churches in England also suffered from a similar problem. Originally they were covered in murals, floor to ceiling, in the gaudiest colours they could manage. Part of it was probably to engage the illiterate population with a giant devotional picture book.
Here’s a snippet from one I studied in the Deanery of Durham Cathedral:
Then along came the Reformation with its accusations of idolatry, its desire for direct book learning for everyone and its general drive to
make everything boringremove the distractions of the material world.
In some churches, they chipped the images off the walls, but in many they just white-washed over them.
Which would be fine for us, since layers of white-wash can be removed to reveal the original paintings, as happened in the Deanery and as happens around the UK by accident on a regular basis, where the old white-wash is still in place.
But alas, the Victorians happened. They saw the bare stones of the thoroughly defaced churches and thought they had more grandeur than the white-washed or ,worse, the still painted churches, and so set about ‘restoring’ the churches of England.
Granted, compared to the art of the renaissance and the classical greek world, the English medieval murals do look like crude kiddy scribbles, offensive to the Victorian (and modern) sense of taste and not at all what they wanted in their monumental architecture. But they were the medieval decoration, like it or not.
'Victorian Restoration' is a well-known oxymoron in old architectural nerd circles. The walls of many churches were stripped back to the stone and in some cases, beyond. The entire outer surface of Durham Cathedral was chipped off (I forget the exact depth, some small number of centimetres), to make it 'clean'.
But yeah, prior to the Reformation, the British Isles loved colours. There were the sumptuary laws, in which the nobility tried to keep the wearing of awesome colours to themselves when rich commoners started to get in on the deal. There were the bardic rules in Ireland, where the higher rank a bard you were, the more colours you got to wear. And then there was the amazing rivalry between blue dye merchants and red dye merchants (you know why devils were painted as red? Because the blue dye merchants were slandering the red dye merchants.)
But alas, the Victorians Happened=best paragraph intro since everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.
By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
EVERYBODY READ THIS. RIGHT NOW.
Don’t forget the fear. Anger is easier than fear.
This is the line that has gotten me through life.
"A woman can preach, a woman can work, a woman can fight, can rule, can conquer, can destroy just as much as a man can."
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!
Lol. Kon, just shut-up. Cass wins, always.
I love Kat Dennings.
Darcy. Baby, you are frighteningly adorable and I want to be you.