Antiquity & America: The Ancient Mediterranean in the United States

Museum of Art Museum of Art

Exhibition: Antiquity & America: The Ancient Mediterranean in the United States

Dates:

Location:

Walker Gallery, Rotunda, Assyrian Gallery, Boyd Gallery
"Antiquity & America" uncovers a new history of curious and related phenomenon: the intensity and passion with which Mediterranean antiquities have long been collected by Americans, and the prominent role the ancient Mediterranean has played in the history of American cultural and political life.

A landscape with a tree at the left, a body of water on the right, and a volcano in the distance

Explore the digital publication that accompanies the exhibition.

The ancient world of the Mediterranean has loomed large in the American imagination for centuries, profoundly shaping the arts, politics, and national identity of the United States. Antiquity & America: The Ancient Mediterranean in the United States considers this enduring impact through the history and collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

This digital publication features more than 200 ancient and modern works of art with select ancient artifacts available in 3D models. Essayists share perspectives on the enduring impact of the ancient Mediterranean in American culture. Enjoy stories of the many donors who built the ancient collection. Explore an interactive timeline on the study of the ancient world on Bowdoin’s campus and journey through the development of the Museum’s collections. A virtual tour of the neoclassical Charles McKim-designed Walker Art Building is also included.

Selected Works

An ancient red figure vessel with a painting of a figure playing the flute
Red-Figure Lekythos with Flute-Player, Greek, ca. 490 B.C.E., terra cotta, by the Bowdoin Painter. Gift of Edward Perry Warren Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926
An ancient vessel with many figures painted on it
Red-figure Nestoris, 19th century, terracotta by the Primato Painter. Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker.
A painting of a landscape with ruins of an ancient temple
Temple of Aphaea, Aegina, ca. 1870–1879, oil, on canvas by John Sargeant Rollin Tilton, American, 1828–1888. Bequest of Miss Mary Sophia Walker
An ancient vessel with many figures painted on it
Attic Red-Figure Hydria with the Abduction of Oreithyia by Boreas, terracotta, ca. 460-450 BCE, by the Niobid Painter.  Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926.
A black and white engraving of the exterior of the Colosseum in Rome
View of the Colosseum, Exterior, 18th century, etching and engraving by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720-1778.
 
The interior of an ancient building, in sepia tones

Interior of a Roman Building Figures Carrying the Body of a Man, 18th century, watercolor by Charles-Louis Clérisseau, French, 1721-1820. Gift of George and Elaine Keyes

a black and white etching of a statue of Apollo
Apollo Belvedere, ca. 1592, engraving, by Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch, 1558–1617. Gift of Charles Pendexter
A portrait of a man with long dark hair in a white shirt in front of foliage
Portrait of Reverend Samson Occom, ca. ca. 1751-1756, oil on canvas, by Nathaniel Smibert, American, 1735–1756. Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III

About

Antiquity & America uncovers a new history of curious and related phenomenon: the intensity and passion with which Mediterranean antiquities have long been collected by Americans, and the prominent role the ancient Mediterranean has played in the history of American cultural and political life. Taking the rich collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art as a model, nearly three centuries of American fascination with the ancient Mediterranean are examined through antiquities collecting and through representations of antiquity in American art and culture. The exhibition brings to life the ancient Mediterranean world in the much the same way that antiquity was alive in American imagination in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when American popular culture was saturated with reference to antiquity.