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Beauty, Life, and Spirit: A Celebration of Greek Culture

In Partnership with the Buffalo Museum of Science

Friday, July 27, 2012–Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jirí Kolár (Czech, 1914–2002). Cycladic Heads, 1976. Chiasmage on wood, 15 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 5 7/8 inches (39.4 x 45.1 x 14.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Evelyn Rumsey Cary Fund, 1977. Jiri Kolar estate; courtesy Galerie Lelong.

On View in the Gallery for Small Sculpture 

The majority of the objects in Beauty, Life, and Spirit: A Celebration of Greek Culture present various aspects of ancient Greek culture. Domestic life is reflected in objects such as oil lamps, containers for perfume and scented oil, figures of animals and humans, and ceramic vessels with imagery portraying activities such as wool carding, hunting, and getting married. Cups of various design, vessels used to mix water and wine, and imagery relating to Dionysus, the god of wine, reflect the importance of wine in ancient Greek culture. Objects that contained oil for athletes’ bodies, as well as references to sports and games, remind us that the Olympics began in Greece and that the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, occur soon after this exhibition opens. From later centuries are two icons on loan from the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. A number of works from the Gallery’s Collection reflect the continued influence of Greek culture on contemporary art: Richard Hunt’s 1956 steel sculpture, Icarus; Jirí Kolár’s Cycladic Heads, created in 1976, which summarizes many of Greece’s contributions to civilization; Pablo Picasso’s 1964 blue glass sculptures Nymphs and Satyrs; and Greek-born artist Nassos Daphnis’s 1938 painting of washerwomen, Monday in Greece.

Beauty, Life, and Spirit: A Celebration of Greek Culture is the third in a series of exhibitions created in partnership with the Buffalo Museum of Science that incorporates work from both museums’ collections. The first collaboration resulted in Figuratively Speaking: Sculpture from the Collection (November 30, 2007–March 2, 2008), which brought together sculptural pieces that explored a multitude of approaches to the human form. The second exhibition in the series, From Tusk to Tail: Animals and Art (August 29, 2008–January 30, 2009), presented a variety of images of animals from all over the world. 

This exhibition is organized by Curator of Education Mariann W. Smith.

Gallery admission is required to view this special exhibition on M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY

Related Event

Art’scool Educators' Preview
Beauty, Life, and Spirit: A Celebration of Greek Culture and DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012, 4–7 pm 

Related Lesson PlanS

Culture Collage
(For Grades 4–12)
Featuring Jirí Kolár's Cycladic Heads, 1976

Daedalus and Icarus: Two Perspectives (For Grades K–8)
Featuring Richard Hunt's Icarus, 1956

Life in Ancient Greece (For Grades 4–8)