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The Body Beautiful: The Art of Ancient Greece

There are times when I come outside of my writing cave to look about and see the wide world – usually just being a girl about town. Every now and then I take in an art show, especially when there is something that showcases great beauty and cultural importance. I was very excited to see this particular exhibition. I saw the huge impressive billboards of the Discobolus all over town, so I knew this would be a good one. It did not disappoint.

I love history and art and this melding of the two is something to savor and enjoy. So. . .I made my trip to the museum on Wednesday and I took pictures of my “trip” through ancient Greece and made a slide show with them. It’s called Out and About and I hope to make more of these in the future using both photos and shooting video of things I find around town. I hope you enjoy it! (I apologize in advance for some of the slightly blurry photos). Many of the great things about work like this is the inspiration that can come from simply gazing. I look at the skill and mastery of form of ancient artists. There is always something to learn. However, the point of the exhibit is this: the beauty and the symmetry of God’s greatest creation – or as many ancient Greeks would have it – the gods – the athletic human body. It is especially focused on the male human body in action. We all know that the first Olympic games began in Greece, it is said by Heracles (also known as Hercules), the greatest strongman/demi-god of them all. In ancient Greece, it was the male body that was seen as the pinnacle of human perfection – but they also appreciated the beauty of the woman’s body as well. What was so wonderful about this exhibit is that Portland is a small city but we are attracting some world class exhibits on a regular basis. See slideshow below:

The collection of pieces here in the Portland Art Museum came from London’s British Museum, one of the world’s most renowned museums. I find it interesting and fitting, considering that we’ve just had the summer Olympics this year, in London, no less. What was show are Roman marble copies of the original ancient bronze Greek works, long gone. The exhibition features over 120 priceless works from the British Museum’s collection of Greek and Roman art: marble and bronze sculptures, vessels, funerary objects and jewelry, some dating back as far as 2000 B.C. I took pictures mostly of the most impressive pieces. My favorite is the Head of Heracles. So that was my urban adventure for this week. For those that are in the Pacific Northwest and wish to see the exhibit the Portland Art Museum is 1219 SW Park Avenue. The exhibit will be in Portland from October 6, 2012 – January 6, 2013.

Note: On the opening night there was an excellent lecture from Dr. Ian Jenkins, Senior Curator of the London British Museum, Department of Greece and Rome. It is a very insightful lecture on the cultural milieu in which these great works of art came about, what may have influenced the thought of Greek artists; from culture , religion and philosophy. Because most of these sculptures are nude and because of the nature of certain aspects of ancient Greek society, there are a few racy moments in the lecture. However, I did not think these detracted from the talk, overall. Very insightful, interesting and educational.



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