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Expressing Emotions: The wonderful world of Ancient Greece

A grieving father from Ancient Greece. He grieves eternally about the loss of his daughter and his grand child. A funerary stele from the 3rd century AD with an epigram for Zoe, daughter of Peneios. The grief of a father expressed in twenty lines.

The text informs the antique and the modern passersby that eighteen-year-old Zoe died after marriage, giving birth to a premature baby, who “left the sunlight behind without ever crying.” The two were separated too early from parents and grandparents. Zoe’s tearful father set up the grave stele with his beloved wife.

DATE 3rd Century AD MATERIAL Marble DIMENSIONS Height: 148 cm  Width: 34 cm Depth: 11 cm – fromDiachronic Museum in Larissa, central Greece

The stele one of the 130 Ancient Greece masterpieces exhibited at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York.

The path-breaking exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD, brings to vivid life the emotions of the people of ancient Greece, and prompts questions about how we express, control, manipulate, or simulate feelings in our own society.

Statuette of Tyro Exposing Her Children – DATE 300-250 BC – MATERIAL Terracotta, from National Archaeological Museum, Athens. In Greek mythology, Tyro (Ancient Greek: Τυρώ) was a Thessalian princess. She gave birth to Pelias and Neleus, the twin sons of Poseidon. Tyro exposed her sons on a mountain to die…

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.

The Exhibition explores 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.

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.

The World of Emotions runs from March 9 to June 24, 2017 – Free Admission

More details on Onassis Cultural Center New York.

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