Although the Greeks are best known for their idealized renderings of Olympian gods and the human figure, and for early conceptions of democracy, there were hints of expression and emotion that have often gone unnoticed — until now.
The ways expression and emotion were depicted in some of the most beautiful objects from Classical Greece are the theme of a path-breaking exhibition at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York. Titled “A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BCE-200 AD,” the show amasses a collection of more than 130 masterpieces from the finest museums in the world, including (among others) the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum Athens, the Louvre Museum, the British Museum, and the Vatican Museums.
“The exhibition explores the ideas and attitudes of people in classical antiquity toward emotion and the ways in which the emotions were depicted,” the Center writes, “revealing how some are striking familiar to us and some shockingly alien. Although ancient Greece is often said to have been flooded with the light of reason, ‘A World of Emotions’ lays bare the far different reality addressed in Homer’s Iliad, whose very first word is menis: wrath.”
“A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BCE-200 AD” opened on March 9 and remains on view through June 24. To learn more, visit the Onassis Cultural Center.
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