Monday, April 21, 2008

What I did this weekend Sunday, I went to the Roman Art from the Louvre exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Well worth the money and the trip, so if you get the chance, I say go. I thought it was quite well presented. THey didn't have too much stuff that you could not hope to see it all, but enough that it was worthwhile. My only complaint is that it didn't contain enough everyday stuff; it was largely devoted to statuary and the Imperial lifestyle. That's really just a personal complaint since that wasn't really the point of it: it's art in an art museum.

I liked the selection of pieces and the layout. They grouped the items into sections that represented major themes, such as the imperial dyanasties, normal (but of course upper class) citizens, "everyday life", religion, military, etc. The first section you walk into, the imperial history, gives you a bit of a timeline so you can put the rest of it in some context. Much of it concentrated on full statues and busts which is what most people think of when they think of Roman art anyway. The cards next to the pieces were decent enough, usually giving the subject, when and where it was found, the material, and a short description of what it represented. I was surprised to find that many of the full statues were actually pieces of different sculptures that were combined later. There was even one that consisted of two statues that were separate works and later combined in the 17th century. I wish they had added a couple of illustrations showing what they had originally looked like, since in a few items pigment was still visible and the descriptions noted that.

I have to say, one of the busts of a female non-royal was rather captivating. I first noticed it because it seemed so realistic, as if it were representing a real person. The description said it was an idealized portrait, but she seemed quite distinct. Unfortunately, photographs weren't allowed so I couldn't snap one to post. I think she was in the hairstyles gallery. Quick, someone go to the exhibit and write down the piece!