FEMINA: Women of Antiquity

March 27 to April 30

Among the very first images that are found in the archaeological record of mankind are those of women. From the earliest period in human history, across many cultures, the feminine form was an important and persistent motif.

This exhibition, through a select group of objects that have come down to us from antiquity, spanning a period of nearly 5000 years, offers a glimpse of this early feminine iconography as it developed from the Neolithic Period through the fall of the Roman Empire.

The earliest representations, invariably abstract figurines with wide hips, conspicuous breasts, and outstretched arms, are indicative of early man’s preoccupation with fertility of both society and the land.

By the third millennium BC, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the symbolism of the female form became much more involved. A number of important goddesses came to be recognized as personifications of both natural and human forces, representing not only fecundity, motherhood, and sexuality, but also home, health, magic, and warfare. For the first time, we also begin to see representations of actual women, both nobility and servants alike.

In the Classical Period the Greeks were depicting women, real and supernatural, in every available media with an increasing interest in realism. Temples and sanctuaries were constructed surrounding magnificent cult statues of their primary goddesses. While charming depictions of ordinary women and young girls at play began to occur with frequency. Images of women at all levels of society formed an integral part of the Greek artistic repertoire in sculpture, vase painting, terracotta, and coins.

By the Roman Period, depictions of the established Classical goddesses exist in great numbers as well as a number of new female deities adopted from conquered peoples. Perhaps more importantly, we now find a substantial amount of realistic portraiture representing women of power and rank. Images of aristocratic women abound in both sculptural and numismatic representations. With the onset of the Dark Ages, women, both historical and mythical recede into the background of the western artistic repertoire for several hundred years.

The catalog illustrates a select group of pieces from the exhibition that trace this development from abstract Mother-Goddess to Roman Empress.

Randall Hixenbaugh, March 2008


 

Past Exhibitions

CERAMIC


on view through February 25

From 01/19/2017 to 02/25/2017


Light on Stone:

the photography of Joseph Coscia

From 10/20/2016 to 12/24/2016


Paintings of John Woodrow Kelley

Through October 15

From 09/15/2016 to 10/15/2016


MEDITERRANEAN MOSAICS

From 06/09/2016 to 07/30/2016


GODS of ANTIQUITY

From 04/07/2016 to 05/28/2016


ART of WAR

December through February 2016

From 12/10/2015 to 02/13/2016


Art of Ancient America

From 10/29/2015 to 12/05/2015

On view in our Chelsea gallery from October 29 through December 5


PAX ROMANA: Roman art exhibition

From 09/17/2015 to 10/24/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from September 17 to October 24


EGYPTIAN SUMMER

From 06/04/2015 to 08/01/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from June 4 to August 1


SYMPOSIUM: Wine and Revelry in Antiquity

From 04/16/2015 to 05/30/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from April 16th to May 30.


the face of antiquity

From 02/01/2015 to 04/11/2015

Our inaugural show in our newly opened Chelsea gallery, on view now through April 11th, explores the widely varied depictions of the human face in ancient art.


Neo-Assyrian Arms and Armor on Display

From 11/15/2011 to 12/31/2011


ANCIENT ARMS AND ARMOR

From 06/01/2008 to 06/30/2008

Our current exhibition includes a number of rare and unusual examples of ancient arms and armor including, Greek bronze helmets and horse armor, Roman legionary bricks, Celtic swords and spears, as well as a number of ancient projectile points.


 

 

 

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