455. Opposition (IV)
Recently there has been a vogue for academics and news outlets to announce that Classical statues and buildings were all garishly painted, not coldly unadorned in white marble or granite. Simultaneously, articles have appeared to remind us that “the Middle Ages weren’t so dull” and that entire cathedral edifices were also painted in garish colours. Already, a few mock-ups to show “what it really looked like” have been made, and some cities have even fully painted their 19th-century Classical buildings to match “historical reality”.
Personally, I think this is all subversive nonsense; firstly, remember that all humanities departments—including archeology and history—are controlled by progressives who detest Western civilisation and lie all the time. I suspect what has happened here is that they have made a tendentious interpretation of various documents to imply all these statues and buildings were garishly painted. But why?
The reason is simple: Western academia wants to “deconstruct” Western civilisation—this is its main interest and purpose. The semiotics of Western civilisation—its sign regime—hold that an unadorned marble statue is a visual metonym for “Western civilisation”; for example, if I wanted to exemplify Western civilisation in a textbook I might pick Michelangelo’s David—a white, unadorned statue. Similarly, everyone knows that a Gothic cathedral is slightly drab and forbidding. What would be a good way to disrupt this semiotic, essentially a standard for beauty? Say that all these statues and buildings were painted in the most garish and ugly colours possible—perhaps retroactively “restore” these objects to their supposed “original state”.
To do so will disrupt the sign regime that people have understood for centuries to be “Western civilisation”—and so disorientate Westerners and destroy their sense of self, as the deconstructors intend. Our regime hates beauty, and the new garish colours—as opposed to unadorned statues—look ugly. This project has nothing to do with restoration and everything to do with destruction and I am sure that if the sources it is based on were adequately chased down you would find a fanciful interpretation has been made—after all, it is awfully suspicious that academics should “discover” the same fact about the Classical period and the Middle Ages at the same time. “No, no David should be painted like some circus clown—that’s how it really was. Trust the science.” It is all about mocking the ancestors and making everything less serious. The unadorned statues and buildings have gravity and power, the new colour schemes make the Classical period look like a McDonald’s Happy Meal.
Further, this is all about injecting contemporary progressive racial beliefs into the past; increasingly, academics will demand that Classical buildings—starting with the 19th-century imitations—be painted to be “historically accurate”. They will then paint a number of the statues black on the grounds that unadorned and unpainted statues only existed to support a sign regime where “whiteness was the default”—we only thought these statues were “white” because we dug them up unpainted, now we must restore them to reveal the fact white men covered up real history. “You assumed these statues were white because you’re prejudiced. Ancient Greece was at least a quarter black—and we’re going to repaint the Elgin Marbles to match, bigot. Experts all agree this is true.” Yes, physiologically these statues are European, but the progressives do not recognise race has a physiological aspect—and, anyway, to paint a European statue black when it looks ridiculous just adds to the disruption and disorientation.
So the “painted statue” meme is an attack on the West, on our sign regime. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are sincere Christians and Classicists are willing to buy this bullshit—they are too progressive, they too think the past was a dull place that needs “brightening up”; and they trust the academics. I guarantee that centuries hence, in another renaissance, real scholars will chip off the paint and record the entire episode as another case where people were possessed by resentful madness.