Contrary to conventional wisdom, the artists of antiquity did not choose marble for its pure whiteness. When studied under a microscope, many works reveal traces of red, blue, green or yellow pigments. Surprise: Greek sculpture was polychrome. To revive the spirit of antique sculpture, mistakenly thought to be austere, the Venus de Milo have been covered with bright colours. A farmer discovered the statue near the ruins of an antique theatre on the island of Melos (Milo) in 1820. The Marquis de Rivière bought it and presented it to Louis XVIII in 1821. The king later gave it to the Louvre.