In order to understand the meaning of the polychrome term, it is necessary that, in the first place, we proceed to determine its etymological origin. In this sense, we must expose that it is a word that derives from the Greek, which means “of many colors” and that is formed by the sum of two components:
- "Poly", which can be translated as "many".
- "Khromos", which is synonymous with "color".
Polychrome , a term that can also be found with tilde in the I (polychrome ), is a adjective that qualifies what you have different colors . The action of bringing many colors to an object, on the other hand, is called polychrome .
It is known as polychromy to discipline which consists in the development of ornamentation through the application of colors. This technique can be carried out in a construction, a monument or another body.
There are several ways to make something polychrome. Although the traditional way is to use different paintings , you can also polychrome through tiles, marbles and other objects.
The polychrome developments are present since ancient times. The Egyptians, the Chaldeans and the Assyrians, among other peoples, as they appealed to different techniques to decorate with different colors its palaces, sanctuaries and images.
It should not be overlooked that the Greeks were a civilization that became a pioneer and leader in polychromy. And they bet on it to give personality, charm and beauty to their constructions and buildings of all kinds.
The Romans, on the other hand, followed that tendency and in their case they opted, above all, to capture that tendency both in the columns and in the development of the mosaics.
During the times of Romanesque and Gothic, the use of polychrome materials and techniques was also very important in art in general. Hence, for example, that can be seen both in the vaults of different buildings and in the windows of many churches.
Examples of works of art that follow this trend are many and some of them is, for example, the statues that exist in the Church of Santa María de Piasca, which are Romanesque and found in Cantabria.
And that is something that also spread, developed and perfected during the Renaissance period.
The opposite of polychrome is what monochrome : Thus, while the polychrome exhibits more than one colour , the monochrome has only one tone. A polychrome creation can become monochrome with the passage of time, when its colors are lost due to erosion and deterioration.
The restoration of artistic works, in this sense, it usually has the purpose of recovering the polychrome condition of the creations. In this way, the specialists look for the colors that could be seen in the original work and that lost their tonality over time, are again visible. Your job is to recover the original appearance of the work , and not in applying new colors by simply coloring the picture or sculpture in question.