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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 3400

Harvard Art Museums – Room 3400

Art From Us, Museum Guide #887

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #887 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 3400. Showcasing a collection of Ancient Greece in Black and Orange.

The three works in focus are :

Funeral Relief of a Playwright and his Family, 1st – 2nd century CE
Antefix in the Shape of a Mask of Silenos, c. 470-460 BCE
Medallion Portrait of Menander, 4th century CE

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #887

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“This gallery shows major trends in Greek vase painting of the Archaic (600–480 BCE) and Classical (480–323 BCE) periods, including contributions by different city-states and the Greek colonies of South Italy. As in sculpture, the human figure takes center stage. Subject matter ranges from the mythological to the everyday.”

In Ancient Greece, pottery is was a important form of handicraft, though potters were not given quite the same status as painters and sculptors. Although pots and vases were mostly made as functional items serving a particular purpose, they were visually decorative in nature. The motifs used to decorate these vases were dictated by their nature of use. The makers of these objets d’art often signed their name or the name of their workshop as an identifier.

Given that a lot of ancient Greek painting and sculpture no longer exists, these vases have stood the test of time and today provide historians and scholars great insight into the civilization.

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