DURHAM, NC.- The Nasher Museum presents The Past is Present: Classical Antiquities, on view through February 2008. Sixty works of art from the ancient Mediterranean world are on view, many of them for the first time, in this exhibition at the Nasher Museum. The works, ranging in date from about 2800 BCE to 300 CE, are part of a recent gift to the Nasher Museum from a private collection.
The Past is Present: Classical Antiquities at the Nasher Museum includes examples of vase painting, marble and terracotta sculpture, bronze, carved amber and gold jewelry from the Cycladic era (third millennium BCE) through the late Hellenistic period.
The gift, given by an anonymous donor in 2006, contains pieces from a private collection assembled between the 1920s and the early 1970s. The show also includes ancient works from the Duke Classical Collection and the Nasher Museums collection.
One of the recently acquired works in the exhibition is a vase from about 520-510 BCE, Attic black-figure neck-amphora with Europa and the Bull, depicting an ancient Greek myth. The vase was found at Vulci in Etruria (Italy) more than 200 years ago and had been part of the collection of Lucien Bonaparte and the Duke of Buckingham.
Another work, Gold Disc with Bees, was worn, possibly as a pendant, in the ancient Greek world almost 3,000 years ago. The detailed workmanship of the piece -- decorated with four honeybees clustered around a flower -- shows the influence of art of the ancient Near East (todays Middle East) that spread across much of the ancient eastern Mediterranean in the 7th century BCE.
The installation was organized by Carla Antonaccio, professor of archeology in Dukes Department of Classical Studies, and Sheila Dillon, the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke.
The exhibition is presented through six themes: The Bronze Age: before Greece (circa 3300 to 1100 BCE); The Bronze Age without End (circa 1100 to 700 BCE); Women, Beauty and Adornment; Death and the Funeral; The Gods and Sacrifice; and The Greek Mixer: Symposia and Drinking Games.
An important aspect of the exhibition is researching, documenting and publishing the collection. Professors Antonaccio and Dillon team-teach a Duke class at the Nasher Museum; their students will take part in cataloging the new antiquities gift. Anne Schroder, the museums curator of academic programs, is the coordinating curator for the exhibition.