This beautiful and extraordinary exhibition will revolutionise our attitude towards the antique forever. Through the centuries Greek and Roman art has been leached by time, historical vicissitudes, natural disaster. Statues have stood up, but walls and panels have borne the brunt: time and weather have ground and crumbled the freshness of colour hues, which then and now are the joy of all art, into dimness and dust.

Our collective unconscious has long been conditioned by a peculiar view of Greek-influenced Roman art. When, during the ferocious urban renewal drive of the renaissance and baroque-period popes, the first statues were found in the womb of the Roman soil they appeared graceful despite mutilations and breaks. They were still full of power, but the stone was pale and bleak. That sculpture had been painted, that walls