About six years ago, my mentor (and favorite professor!) in the Miami Classics Department proposed a summer project on which we could collaborate. Our proposal was accepted, and we spent a few months of Summer '99 working on it.

See, ancient sculpture used to be fully painted with vibrant colors. But this paint has worn off all the columns and temples and sculpture you see in ruins these days. Therefore, sculpture has pretty much just appeared white in popular culture — movies, architecture, painting...

We wanted to scan some photos into Photoshop (which we were both learning) and see what they might look like, in full color. The result is the Virtual Sculpture Gallery. (a disclaimer about the site: the design is frightening! Though CSS existed, no browsers supported it. Thus we let GoLive CyberStudio make tables for us... *shudder*)

Unfortunately we haven't updated the site since then. Our goal was to raise awareness, and hopefully inspire other folks to pick up where we left off.

It remains popular and widely-linked though. A few weeks ago I got email from a lady at discovery.com who was rather enthusiastically preparing an article about it. I answered her questions, but she sounded kinda bummed to hear that the site was, frankly, old and out of date. She said she was still planning to try and run the story, given the appearance of painted sculpture in some recent big media.

I hurriedly pasted a stat-tracker into the site's html, in case the story ran.

It did: Discovery Channel News, Color Restored to Ancient Sculptures

(here's a local copy, in case the permalink breaks)

The stats went nuts. It used to average ~500 hits/day, but on the 17th it almost hit 28,000 (!).

VSG stats

A MeFi thread even popped up, and the majority of the comments are (surprisingly) positive!

There's obviously a lot of interest here... I'm thinking about registering an actual domain for the project, and updating the template & sticking a blog in it for updating news. I'll need to draft some other folks to help update it though...


  1. Oh, oh. I remember this project and was really excited about it then, the idea that it has been picked up by others is fanom!

    Please, accept my help to make it better.

  2. Hey, I went to Miami too! I wonder if we ever crossed paths . . .