The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum Marks the First U.S. Tour of Works Exclusively from The British Museum’s Greek and Roman Collections
The Dallas Museum of Art presents The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum, an international touring exhibition of more than 120 objects exploring the human form through exquisite works exclusively from the British Museum’s famed collection of Greek and Roman art. The exhibition, on view May 5 through October 6, 2013, presents the Greeks’ fascination with the human body and humanity, both of which were pervasive in ancient Greek culture. Iconic marble and bronze sculptures, fine painted pottery, funerary monuments, terracottas, and gold jewelry are among the treasures that explore the human form, across three millennia of Greek civilization.
“The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece attests to the unexampled quality of the British Museum’s holdings of Greek art, and we are grateful to its director, my friend and colleague Neil MacGregor, for the generous loan of this extraordinary exhibition,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “In it, we will present a visually engaging and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition as seen by the ancient Greeks, and, equally, of the origins of our construct of beauty today.”
The exhibition highlights work from both ancient Greece and Rome, for Greek culture and art flourished during Roman times. Romans collected works from Greece, and when originals were not available they commissioned versions of Greek works, at times commissioning portraits of themselves that placed their features on a Hellenistic-inspired sculpture.
“The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum celebrates the art of Greece and Rome and its impressive representations of the human body,” said Dr. Anne R. Bromberg, the DMA’s Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, and curator of the Dallas presentation. “A recurring subject throughout the exhibition is the male nude figure, which is one of the most striking expressions of ancient Greece, appearing as athlete, hero, god, and mortal.”
The exhibition is organized along ten different thematic sections depicting the various ways the Greeks experimented with representing the human body, from prehistoric Cycladic figures to realistic Roman genre sculptures. Masterworks from the British Museum’s collection featured in the exhibition include the Diskobolos (discus thrower) sculpture from the second century A.D.; it is on tour for the first time in the United States. A model of Ancient Olympia—one of four sites in ancient Greece where “Panhellenic” festivals were held—as it would have appeared around 100 B.C., prior to the Roman additions and alterations, is also highlighted. A video installation, original to the Dallas presentation, will be shown alongside the model, providing images of the original Olympic sites and artwork depicting ancient athletic events.
The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum requires a special exhibition ticket of $16 for adults, with discounts for students, military personnel, and seniors; DMA Partners and children 11 and under are free. Active-duty military personnel and their immediate family members will receive free admission to the exhibition from May 24 through September 1, 2013, as part of the Blue Star Museums Program.
A resource area, located at the end of the exhibition, provides iPads with access to a DMA-designed app that directs visitors to web resources about ancient Greek culture. Visitors will be able to contribute to a response wall in the resource area, reflecting on beauty across time and cultures. A self-guided tour highlighting examples of male and female beauty in the Museum’s collection will be available for all visitors to the DMA. DMA Friends can earn the Body Beautiful Badge by visiting the exhibition and collect the Ancient Mediterranean Art Badge with five visits to the DMA’s ancient art galleries. For more information on the DMA Friends program, visit DMA.org/friends.
The Museum will celebrate The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum during the May 17 Late Night with an evening exploring the heroes and great myths of ancient Greece. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, and Maxwell L. Anderson, Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, will discuss current trends in museums and best collecting practices for museums, and share insights into the life of a museum director during a special event prior to the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, May 4. Anderson will also lead a two-night illustrated course on The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece on June 26 and 27: an in-depth exploration of the subjects, context, and significance of many of the objects in the exhibition, and how they offer insight into the worldview of Greek peoples from prehistory through the Hellenistic period. Additional programs, including lectures, gallery talks, and an August film series will be scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition. For dates, prices, and details, visit DMA.org.
The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum is organized by the British Museum and curated by Ian Jenkins and Victoria Turner. The curator of the Dallas presentation is Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. This exhibition is a collaboration between the British Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition in Dallas is supported by an anonymous donor. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 22,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Museum welcomes more than half a million visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary events, and dramatic and dance presentations.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Partners and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
About the British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. From the outset, its mission was to be a “museum of the world for the world.” This ambition still lies at the heart of the Museum today. The collection tells the story of cultural achievement throughout the world, from the dawn of human history over two million years ago until the present day. britishmuseum.org
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