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Egypt, Greece, Rome:
Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World

Glenbow Museum
Calgary AB – through Jun 3, 2007

In a year-long exhibition, the Glenbow Museum presents over 200 artefacts spanning 5,000 years of civilization in Egypt, Greece and Rome. The exhibit, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in collaboration with the Nagoya Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan includes a discovery room, walking tours and lectures.

Portrait of a Bearded Man (c. 161-167)

Portrait of a Bearded Man (c. 161-167), from Roman Spain, marble, [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, through Jun 3, 2007]

The exhibit offers a unique chance to compare stylistic treatments in ancient Mediterranean cultures. Travel and trade across the Mediterranean fostered a complex pattern of cross-influences, whereby Egyptian art influenced Grecian artists who in turn influenced Roman artists.

Many of the Egyptian pieces featured in the exhibit originally were created to decorate the tomb chambers of kings, queens and high officials. Highly patterned and embellished, they served to glorify the Egyptians’ belief in the afterlife. Ancient Greek art and culture flourished from contact with these Egyptian and Aegean civilizations, but, unlike the more stylized Egyptian forms, the Greek figures incorporated a strong sense of naturalism to emphasize their interest in human nature and anatomy.

The Greeks’ search for “ideal” forms led to the creation of very beautiful and elegant artwork. The nude human figure emerged as the principle theme of art, and the perfect human body was used to tell stories of gods and heroes.

Roman art, originally influenced by the Greeks, increasingly stressed the vigour and vitality of human expression, especially through sculpture. As a result, they were often less flattering than the Greek images of ideal proportion and beauty. Portraits and busts strove for a stricter realism while honouring the great achievements of politicians, military figures, the wealthy and the athletic.


 Thu, Sep 28, 2006