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"World of Emotions" Exhibition in NYC

posted May 22, 2017, 8:54 AM by AIA DC   [ updated May 22, 2017, 8:57 AM ]
We want to bring to your attention the critically acclaimed exhibition "A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD" currently on view at the Onassis Cultural Center New York, in midtown Manhattan, until June 24th. It is truly a groundbreaking exploration of emotional life of mortals and the gods in ancient Greece and the contemporary reverberations. The exhibition brings together more than 130 masterpieces and fascinating objects from internationally renowned museums—including the Acropolis Museum, Athens; National Archaeological Museum, Athens; Musée du Louvre, Paris; British Museum, London; and Musei Vaticani, Vatican City—many on view in the United States for the first time, and some have never been seen before outside Greece. 

Together, these objects provide a timely opportunity to think about the role of feelings in our personal, social, and political lives, while helping to advance the relatively new field of the history of emotions. Some of the stories imbedded in the works are not surprising: Paris’ passion for Helen, Medea’s fury, and Zeus’ lust, to name a few. Lesser-known stories conveying emotional states are exquisitely considered in terracotta pottery, stelae, sculpture, and metal. Among our favorites are: 

In Letter of Hikane, c. 50-75 AD, a mother writes on papyrus to her neglectful son, “Is it for this that I carried you for ten months and nursed you for three years, so that you would be incapable of remembering me by letter?” Timeless. 

The heads of Achilles and Penthesileia, 2nd century AD (see image above), survivors of a sculptural group, reveal the moment Achilles removes the helmet of his vanquished enemy, the Amazon Queen. In this moment, he holds her head, sees her beauty, and falls in love with her. Victory has turned to utter devastation. Life has left the valorous Queen. 

The exhibition, organized by three scholar-curators — Angelos Chaniotis of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.; Ioannis Mylonopoulos of Columbia University; and Nikolaos Kaltsas, director emeritus of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens – prompts questions about how we express, control, manipulate, or simulate feelings in our own society. 

The exhibition and public programs are free.