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A World of Emotions
Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD

March 9 – June 24, 2017
HOURS

Monday – Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Thursday until 9pm

GUIDED TOURS

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1:00pm

Admission and exhibition tours are FREE

Every historical event—from a war and a financial crisis to an ecological catastrophe or the American elections—every text that might fall into the hands of a historian—from a song and a court speech to a letter and a recipe—and almost every object of material culture—from the Parthenon and a victory monument to a dress or a recycling container—is directly or indirectly related to emotion.

-    Angelos Chaniotis, Exhibition Curator and Professor of Ancient History and Classics
     Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

Bringing to vivid life the emotions of the people of ancient Greece, and prompting questions about how we express, control, manipulate, or simulate feelings in our own society, the Onassis Cultural Center New York presents the path-breaking exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD.


On view exclusively at the Onassis Cultural Center New York, the exhibition brings together more than 130 masterpieces from some of the finest museums in the world including the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum Athens, the Louvre, the British Museum, the Vatican Museums, among many others, to explore the ideas and attitudes of people in classical antiquity toward emotion and the ways in which the emotions were depicted, revealing how some are strikingly familiar to us and some shockingly alien. Although ancient Greece is often said to have been flooded with the light of reason, A World of Emotions lays bare the far different reality addressed in the Iliad, whose very first word is menis: wrath.

Developed by a team of distinguished guest curators over the course of more than four years, the exhibition features vase paintings, sculptures (ranging from life-size statues from the Acropolis to relief carvings from cemeteries), theatrical masks, amulets, coins, and votive offerings, among other artifacts from the early 7th century BC (the traditional date of the Iliad) to the late 2nd century AD (the beginning of the end of pagan antiquity). Many will be on view in the United States for the first time, and some will be seen for the first time outside Greece. Together, these objects provide a timely opportunity to think about the role of feelings in our own personal, social, and political lives, while helping to advance the relatively new field of the history of emotions.



Curator Angelos Chaniotis writes in the introduction to the exhibition catalogue: “Emotions are a universal not a Greek phenomenon. Every historical event—from a war and a financial crisis to an ecological catastrophe or the American elections—every text that might fall into the hands of a historian—from a song and a court speech to a letter and a recipe—and almost every object of material culture—from the Parthenon and a victory monument to a dress or a recycling container—is directly or indirectly related to emotion: disgust, contempt, fear, courage, joy, grief, hope, envy, love, affection, hatred, jealousy, desire, anger, indignation, pride, and gratitude. Every text and every image is determined by emotions, either because it expresses, displays, represents, describes, arouses, conceals, suppresses, or prevents emotions, or because it stimulates affective memories. Transmitted through the centuries, incorporated into education, and elevated into the status of “classic,” Greek art and literature have transcended their ethnic, geographical, and chronological borders and have acquired universal value, inspiring thoughts and confronting men and women of any time and culture with fundamental problems of human nature and archetypal emotional conflicts.”

A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD is curated by:

Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of Ancient History and Classics
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Nikolaos Kaltsas, Director Emeritus
National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Ioannis Mylonopoulos, Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Art, Architecture, and Archaeology
Columbia University, New York

Exhibition Lenders:

GREECE
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Archaeological Collection of Acharnes, Ephorate of East Attica
Athens, Acropolis Museum
Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
Athens, Epigraphic and Numismatic Museum
Athens, Museum of the Ancient Agora
Athens, National Archaeological Museum
Delos, Archaeological Museum
Heraklion, Archaeological Museum
Ioannina, Archaeological Museum
Larissa, Diachronic Museum
Marathon, Archaeological Museum
Piraeus, Archaeological Museum
Pella, Archaeological Museum
Samos, Archaeological Museum of Pythagoreion
Samos, Archaeological Museum of Vathi
Thera, Archaeological Museum
Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum
Thebes, Archaeological Museum
Veria, Archaeological Museum
Brauron, Archaeological Museum

Athens, Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation—Museum of Cycladic Art
Thessaloniki, The George Tsolozidis Collection

FRANCE
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan,
and Roman Antiquities

GERMANY
Staatlichen Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek Muenchen

ITALY
Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Rome, Roma Capitale, Musei Capitolini, Centrale Montemartini

SWITZERLAND
Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig

UNITED KINGDOM
London, The British Museum

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

VATICAN CITY STATE
Città del Vaticano, Musei Vaticani

The Onassis Cultural Center New York is located in midtown Manhattan, in Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue at 51st Street.

Public programs and cultural events related to the exhibition will be announced soon.

Image Credits:

1. Marble Head of Penthesileia. Roman copy of a Greek work of the second century B.C. Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, BS 214 Image © Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig.

2. Marble Funerary Stele with Scene of Greeting, Early 3rd Century BC, Archaeological Museum of Thera, 321 © Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports – Archaeological Receipts Fund

3. Marble Votive Relief to Asklepios. Late 5th–early 4th century B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens, Acr. 1341 (EAM 1341) Image © Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports – Archaeolgical Receipts Fund

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