Polychromy | What is it, tutorials and examples in art

Polychromy is the quality of polychrome. Polychrome is an adjective that literally means according to its etymological origin plurality of colors. Therefore, the polychrome concept defines what is more than one color.

What is polychromy

The word polychromy can refer to a work of art or craft painted in colors or whose main characteristic is the variety of its colors.

In the graphic arts, there are also those who exchange the polychromy concept for printing with various inks of different colors, such as process colors.

  • Synonym for polychromy : Multicolor.
  • Antonym of polychrome : Monochrome.

Polychromy in art

Polychromy in art and crafts is the painted finish of more than one color of a sculpture, decorative ornament, etc. Although it is often used to describe wooden statues painted in various colors, polychromy is the name of the finish regardless of the support (wood, stone, mud …), the motif or the function of the painted piece.

Examples of polychromy in art

Polychromy has been and continues to be used in most cultures and there are plenty of examples. To cite a few famous polychromes:

  • The seated scribe of the Louvre
  • Cleopatra bust


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