Art of the First Cities: Worship and Warfare in the art of the ancient Sumerians

History begins with the cities of ancient Sumer, in southern Iraq; it is here that writing was first invented.  But this first writing was used almost exclusively to record financial transactions; and so the visual arts, developed into a disciplined system to promote the power of the rulers of early Mesopotamia, give us access to…

Request Program

Passion and Violence in a Most Unassuming Art: The Wonders of Greek Vase Painting

We see Greek vases standing in quiet dignity in museum galleries, their lovely shapes designed for service and display.  But more than any other art form, the decorations on them give us a most vivid insight into the lives and character of the ancient Greeks.  Painted with the greatest artistry, often by artists who signed…

Request Program

Those Gaudy Ancients: Exploring the Color of Antiquity

We encounter ancient sculptures thousands of years after they were created and can readily imagine the complete form of these statues, despite missing parts and broken bits. But it is much harder to imagine something we hardly ever glimpse — color! Ancient statues were painted, often with bright, gaudy pigments. This lecture explores the color of ancient statues and how modern researchers are discovering surviving traces of those colors in order to recreate sculpture’s original appearance.

Request Program

They Don’t Bite! How to approach Greek Vases

Many of us first encounter the art of the ancient Greeks through their vases. Though familiar to us, these apparently simple, functional objects often mystify and even baffle both the young and the old. In this lecture, Peter Schertz demystifies Greek vases by exploring how they were made and used, who made them and the significance of both their shapes and their decoration.

Request Program

“It Comes to Life!” Hollywood’s Mummies

Ancient Egypt and specifically mummies have offered highly creative inspiration for feature movies. This presentation will provide film history background on the art and characteristics of this sub-genre and attitudes regarding “exotic” views of Ancient Egyptian culture. 1932’s The Mummy (79 min) with Boris Karloff will be shown with lecture.

An extra fee applies to this two-hour program. Please contact Jeffrey Allison for details.

Request Program

Caligula in Color

Briefly explore the life and reign of one of Rome’s most notorious emperors, Caligula! This talk will focus on new insights gleaned from a recent international symposium and research conducted on ancient coloration and the sculptural technique of a 1st-century sculpture of Caligula in the VMFA collection.

Available Feb 2013 – Jul 2014

Request Program