Iowa Professor: 'White Marble' of Ancient Statues Supports White Supremacy

A University of Iowa professor argued that the appreciation of beauty inspired by the "white marble" of classical statuary supports white supremacy today.

"The equation of white marble with beauty is not an inherent truth of the universe; it's a dangerous construct that continues to influence white supremacist ideas today," Sarah Bond, assistant professor of classics, wrote in an article for the art blogazine Hyperallergic.

Bond noted that "many of the statues, reliefs, and sarcophagi created in the ancient Western world were in fact painted," so the "white marble" seen in such art today is an accident of history, not the intended look. Marble "was considered a canvas, not the finished product for sculpture." So it was "carefully selected and then often painted in gold, red, green, black, white, and brown, among other colors."

The professor pointed to various excellent museum shows like the "Gods in Color" exhibit to emphasize that these statues were originally painted, not marble white.