The Museum's collection of Greek and Roman art comprises more than seventeen thousand works ranging in date from the Neolithic period (ca. 4500 B.C.) to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312. The geographic regions represented are Greece and Italy, but not as delimited by modern political frontiers: much of Asia Minor on the periphery of Greece was settled by Greeks; Cyprus became increasingly Hellenized in the course of its long history; and Greek colonies were established around the Mediterranean basin and on the shores of the Black Sea. For Roman art, the geographical limits coincide with the expansion of the Roman Empire. The department also exhibits the pre-Greek art of Greece and the pre-Roman art of Italy, notably of the Etruscans.
Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture (2014) is the first comprehensive publication of 635 stone sculptures in the Met's extensive collection of ancient art from the island of Cyprus. Published online, in a historic first for the Museum, the publication is available to read, download, and search in MetPublications at no cost. A paperbound edition, complete and printed as a 436-page print-on-demand book with 949 full-color illustrations, is also available for purchase and can be ordered on Yale University Press's website.
Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The situation in Syria is both grave and deeply troubling. In the midst of such striking human suffering, all other concerns can easily get lost in the shadows. But we must believe that there will be a time when peace returns to Syria, and when that moment arrives, it would be tragic to find that most of the country's heritage had been lost.
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Since its discovery on the Quirinal Hill of Rome in 1885 near the ancient Baths of Constantine, the statue Boxer at Rest—currently on view at the Met—has astonished and delighted visitors to the Museo Nazionale Romano as a captivating masterpiece of ancient bronze sculpture.
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The "Mask of Agamemnon" is one of the most famous gold artifacts from the Greek Bronze Age. Found at Mycenae in 1876 by the distinguished archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, it was one of several gold funeral masks found laid over the faces of the dead buried in the shaft graves of a royal cemetery.
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Many of the works on paper currently on view in Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: The Reproductions of E. Gilliéron & Son required conservation treatment to address a variety of structural and aesthetic problems. The dedicated effort over the past two years to address the conservation of these objects and to look more closely at their method of production reflects a reconsideration of their role in the Museum and in the history of art itself.
Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In the second half of the nineteenth century, archaeologists began to focus on understanding prehistoric Greece and its extraordinary flowering during the Greek Bronze Age (about 3000–1050 B.C.). Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of wealthy tombs at Mycenae in 1876 brought to life the Heroic Age immortalized in the epic poetry of Homer, in which King Agamemnon’s palace was described as "rich in gold."
Posted: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Eighty-five years ago today, on April 6, 1926, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the "Pompeian Court," a new gallery space for classical art, to the public. Located in the Museum's recently constructed southern wing ("Wing K") designed by McKim, Mead and White, this gallery space was the company's last for the Metropolitan since becoming its official architect in 1904.
Posted: Friday, November 19, 2010
On November 21, 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art accessioned its first work of art—a Roman marble sarcophagus found in 1863 at Tarsus in Cilicia (modern southern Turkey). This finely worked but unfinished sarcophagus came to the Museum as a gift from J. Abdo Debbas, the American vice consul at Tarsus. Debbas, a native of the province of Adana, Turkey, served in the United States Department of State there until 1882.
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010
In 1996 mosaics were accidentally uncovered during highway construction in the modern Israeli town of Lod, not far from Tel Aviv (see map). Lod is ancient Lydda, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 66 during the Jewish War. Refounded by Hadrian as Diospolis, Lydda was awarded the rank of a Roman colony under Septimius Severus in A.D. 200.
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010
Each year, the Met holds four meetings at which curators present works of art to a special committee of Trustees for possible purchase by the Museum. It is a thoughtful and rigorous process, and it is always a thrill to see the acquired objects when they finally arrive in our galleries. This past year's purchases included four exquisite works of sculpture spanning from the ancient world to the mid-eighteenth century.