Sunday, November 18, 2007

Roman Art In Indy

I recently had the opportunity to experience the "Roman Art From The Louvre" exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The exhibition contains 184 Roman works from the 1st century B.C. thru the 4th century A.D. These works represent the largest number of loaned pieces from the Louvre for any single show ever. For anyone that is unlikely to travel to Paris to see these items at their permanent home, this is an excellent opportunity to see such a large number of excellent examples of Roman Art in one place.

I have been to the Louvre several times but like many vistors, I didn't pay much attention to the Roman works since there are so many other wonderful things to see there. Now here at the IMA, I was able to spend an entire day getting very close and studying intently all the works of this collection. Their placement and the overall exhibition design were created by the Louvre curators and the IMA staff and the result was a very visitor-friendly layout that allowed ample space to view the works from different angles and to stand and ponder them for as long as you would like.

One of the more interesting works was the bust of Antinous as Osiris (above). Antinous was the boyfriend of the emperor Hadrian. While Hadrian was a bear, Antinous was a stud pup. I knew of the story before, but when I stood face to face with Antinous I could see why Hadrian was so enamored with him. The photo above doesn't look as good as the bust does in real life. He should have been selected Mr. Gay Rome 130 A.D. if he hadn't died unexpectedly that year. As a consolation he was made a god and a city was named after him. Nowadays guys just get a sash and their picture taken.

The exhibition continues at the IMA through January 6, 2008, and then travels to Seattle and Oklahoma City before returning home to Paris.