Next time you’re up in Boston, think about visiting the newly organized Greek exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts. There’s over 200 items on display, newly arranged by theme into three galleries: Homer & the Epics; Dionysus & the Symposium; and Theater & Performance – themes representing the heart of Greek culture.
The Homer gallery is devoted to works illustrating the Iliad and Odyssey, including an overview of the Trojan War through scenes on six terracotta vases, as well as marble sculptures and clay statuettes. One drinking cup depicts Helen of Sparta preparing to leave Greece with Paris, prince of Troy, ultimately leading to one of the most famous wars in history. Shown here is a classic red-figure vase from the gallery depicting soldiers in battle during the fall of Troy.
The Dionysus gallery commemorates the god of the grape harvest, and the Athenian tradition of good conversation sparked by good wine. A silver case displays wine-related pieces used in symposiums, as well as a cup sculpted into a donkey’s head c. 480 B.C.
The third gallery highlights Performance. Terra-cotta pieces here illustrate scenes from lost dramas and comedies; only about 30 of which remain from the classical period. One vase shows Achilles striking down the Greek soldier Thersites, likely inspired by a lost Greek play.