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Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece

Sunday, October 11, 2009Sunday, January 3, 2010
10:00 AM–05:00 PM on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece

Heroes play an integral role in most present and past cultures. This international loan exhibition explores the inherent human need for superhuman and mortal heroes by using ancient Greek culture as one point of origin. Greek history and mythology is especially rich in various kinds of heroes, who are mirrored in present-day culture. Heroes are omnipresent in the arts: approximately 120 Greek statues, reliefs, vases, bronzes, and jewelry will be combined with literary quotes to illustrate their tasks, adversaries, challenges, turning points, and failures in their quests as well as their moments of triumph. Visitors will be asked to name their own personal hero(es) in the form of statements, photos, videos, etc.

What makes somebody a hero or heroine, what was expected of them, how were they portrayed and worshiped? This exhibition will explore the inherent human need for heroes by using ancient Greek culture as a point of origin. Greek history and mythology are especially rich in various kinds of heroes, who were represented in the arts, but were also the object of cult, receiving sacrifices and offerings from worshipers who sought their intervention. Statues, reliefs, vases, bronzes and jewelry will be combined with literary quotes to illustrate the life cycle of heroes and heroines with their tasks, adversaries, challenges, turning points and failures as well as their private moments. The exhibition will feature objects from U.S. and European museums as well as pieces from the Walters' collection. Heroes will travel to The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville from Jan. 29-April 25, 2010, the San Diego Museum of Art from May 22-Sept. 5, 2010 and the Onassis Cultural Center in New York City from Oct. 5, 2010-Jan. 3, 2011.

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Christine Dunbar Sarbanes (1935-2009), a true and abiding hero of our time. Odysseus-like in her commitment to the Walters Art Museum, she was a compassionate advocate for the audiences we strive to serve.

The planning and implementation of this exhibition have been generously supported by grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The exhibition catalogue received a leadership grant from the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (usa). The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The presentation in Baltimore has been made possible by the Women's Committee of the Walters Art Museum, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and generous individual donors. Through the generous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Angelos, this exhibition is offered at the Walters Art Museum free of admission charge. Museum

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