Art History and Mathematical Sciences major Nate Craig will be presenting a paper on Saturday, April 10th, at the third annual SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium:
Etruscan Pigments: A Chronological Examination
Often when viewing art of ancient cultures, we tend to see exactly what’s given, a story, and try to piece together the puzzle of their culture that way. The same can be said of Etruscan art as a large part of Etruscan art is the story it tells us about what Etruscans valued and how they interacted as a culture. However, if we take a different vantage point and look a little deeper into how the art itself is made, namely the pigments being used, we can create a different story about how they are creating these works–specifically, the chronology of pigments in Etruscan society. The development of the Etruscan palette changes over time due to the introduction of new pigments during the Orientalizing, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. These insights into the use of pigments do tell us how they are making these fantastic works but, more importantly, are an integral part of the larger puzzle of understanding the Etruscan culture. This might mean understanding how they valued certain figures or who might have been important. These kinds of answers have been made possible by using technology like multi-spectral imaging, x-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence. Through these methods we are beginning to understand Etruscan culture better and painting a clearer picture of the Etruscan palette and its uses. Thus, by combining science with art we can then better comprehend the Etruscan culture.