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Red-figured drinking cup

Red-figured drinking cup (kylix), Greek, made in Athens, (c. 510-500 BC), attributed to Onesimos, from Caere, Italy [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Oct 6-Jan 6] © The Trustees of The British Museum 2012. All rights reserved

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece

Portland Art Museum
Portland OR – Oct 6, 2012-Jan 6, 2013

Marble group of a nymph

Marble group of a nymph trying to escape from a satyr, her head restored in the 19th C., Roman period (2nd C. AD), found near Tivoli, Italy [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Oct 6-Jan 6] © The Trustees of The British Museum 2012. All rights reserved

Marble head of Chrysippos

Marble head of Chrysippos, Roman period (1st C. AD), copy of a Greek, original, (late 3rd C. BC), from Albano, Italy [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Oct 6-Jan 6] © The Trustees of The British Museum 2012. All rights reserved

Black-figured neck-amphora

Black-figured neck-amphora, Greek, about 510 BC, attributed to the manner of the Antimenes Painter, from Vulci, Italy. © The Trustees of The British Museum 2012. All rights reserved.

The human form has been a subject and source of inspiration for artistic practice well into our contemporary era. This exhibition celebrates the origins of figurative sculpture and art objects from ancient Greece, tracing the early evolution of prehistoric simplistic depictions to the immaculately chiseled forms and realism of the Hellenistic Age. The in-depth survey is drawn from the rarely travelling collection of the British Museum.

Organized into thematic sections, the show highlights many facets of the rich and mysterious culture of Greek life and artistic motivation. The idealized male body is, perhaps, the most common subject in Greek art; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and renditions of the female body are representd together, and Dionysus, the god of wine, and other gods are also depicted as divine bodies.

Themes of athletics, birth, marriage, death and desire are present in a number of domestic and ritual objects, including those for everyday use like pottery and drinking cups, which often contained sexual imagery as a means to celebrate fertility.

By the later period of Alexander the Great, the craftsmanship and personal rendering had become so masterful that sculpted portraits and the realistic portrayal of specific individuals like Socrates were not uncommon and are some of the most stellar pieces in this exhibit.

Allyn Cantor


 Mon, Nov 5, 2012