Page 1

H / Building Our Future

H/ Building Our Future Harvard University Art Museums Arthur M. Sackler Museum Busch-Reisinger Museum Fogg Art Museum Straus Center for Conservation

Vol. VII, No. 1

Winter 2013


From the Director Celebrating the Next Step

As you review this edition of Building Our Future, we are busy preparing for the exciting months ahead. We have planned “A Suite of Celebrations” in February and March to honor our historic building here at 32 Quincy Street, which will be closing for renovations on March 30.

I hope you will make some time between now and then to take part in the festivities, which will culminate in a black-tie benefit gala on March 17. Maisie K. Houghton and Bruce Beal, who are chairing the Gala Committee, have worked tirelessly to organize a spectacular evening for an estimated 400 people: cocktails and dancing in the Fogg’s Calderwood Courtyard and dinner across the street in Harvard Yard. Mingling with the attendees will be a group of honored guests: artists, leading museum directors who were educated at Harvard, former directors of our museums, and University officials. Other events planned for the spring include student performances in the Calderwood Courtyard and Adolphus Busch Hall during Arts First weekend, March 1–4, and a community open house the weekend of March 17–18. While the renovations we have planned for Quincy Street will take a few years, we

are already anticipating our improved quarters. In 1927, when the collections moved into their new Quincy Street building, the Fogg became the first museum in the world to unite under one roof the elements that director Edward W. Forbes and associate director Paul J. Sachs considered essential to an education in the fine arts. In addition to galleries and study rooms, there were lecture halls, a research library, and conservation laboratories. The institution grew, eventually to include the Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler museums. Now, 80 years on, the University is committed to creating a state-of-the-art facility for the next century of students, scholars, and the public. The new museum will physically embody our core values—intimacy, quality, accessibility, and collaboration—in an innovative design by architect Renzo Piano. I urge you to stop in and view the plans, models, and drawings in an exhibition organized by deputy

Wan Qingli, Clearing after Snow, 1983. Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. tl40379.51. Digital photography by Ken Howie.

director Richard Benefield, opening on March 18. In the meantime, there are many details to attend to—not the least of which is packing up and moving the majority of works in our collections. As you can imagine, this will be no ordinary move. None of this activity would be possible without the generous support of our community of friends, for which we are deeply thankful. Thomas W. Lentz

Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director Harvard University Art Museums


Exhibitions Painted Statues? Gods in Color Shows Ancient Sculpture’s True Palette Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, on display September 22 through January 20, features some 20 copies of Greek and Roman sculptures, painted as research suggests they were when first made.

For centuries, Greek and Roman sculpture has been associated with the simplicity of plain marble: shape and stone, unadorned. But an eye-opening new exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum reveals that classical statuary was far from austere. In fact, it was elaborately painted in startlingly exuberant hues.

sometimes surely also scrubbed clean upon recovery. Color became clearly apparent on sculpture excavated during the 19th century at various sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Even though specialists have long been aware of this, their knowledge has done little to change popular perception.”

Visitors may be amazed by the flamboyant palette: bright red, tropical green, yellow ochre, and electric blue—hardly the noble white marble most people associate with classical sculpture. “People have become used to white marble statues,” said Susanne Ebbinghaus, George M. A. Hanfmann Curator of Ancient Art. “After all, the sculpture that survives from antiquity has been around for a long time; it was frequently exposed to the elements and

A Jolt of Color To the modern eye, colorful reproductions of famous ancient monuments such as panels from the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus may seem garish, because sculptors since the Renaissance have modeled their works on an ideal informed by the apparently plain white marbles of Greek and Roman antiquity. By now, however, scholarship has firmly established that ancient statuary was routinely

painted or gilt and was often embellished with metal attachments and glass and stone inlays. Ancient texts describe skillfully painted statues, indicating that color was considered an integral part of the object. Important examples of marble sculpture with significant traces of paint include statuary from the Athenian Acropolis, pedimental figures from the Temple of Aphaia on the Greek island of Aegina, and slabs of the Alexander Sarcophagus from the royal necropolis of ancient Sidon, in what is now Lebanon. Painted reproductions of these objects will be on view. Researchers used ultraviolet light and raking light (extreme side light that illuminates surface details) to see the remains of painted decoration; they employed various scientific techniques to determine the chemical makeup of mere specks of pigment. Malachite from Greece, for example, produced the color green, cinnabar from Spain and Istria yielded red, and azurite from Italy, Spain, and the Sinai created bright blue.

Reclining Lion. Original: Greek, c.550 BBC, Ny Carlsber Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Color reconstruction by Vinzenz Brinkmana and Ulkrike Koch-Brinkmann. Photo courtesy Stiftyung Arch채ologie. Page 4



Head of Caligula

One of the objects on view is a reproduction of the marble head of the Roman emperor Caligula, who ruled from AD 37 to 41. Traces of paint have survived between the lips and on the eyes, eyebrows, hair, and even the skin of the original, which is in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. The usual means of replicating the head—making a mold—would have damaged the remaining pigment. Instead, scientists used noncontact 3-D laser scanning to develop an exact computer model of the original. The data were then transferred to a machine shop, where a computer-controlled machine replicated the emperor’s head in marble. The copy was then painted to re-create the appearance of the original. Most of the other color reconstructions in the exhibition are of Greek sculpture. They include grave monuments, statuary set up in sanctuaries to honor

the gods, and architectural sculpture from temples and treasuries. Visitors to the Sackler will be able to decide for themselves whether they prefer monochrome or painted sculpture. In the galleries, the colorful reproductions are juxtaposed with Harvard’s own Greek and Roman statuary in its current, colorless state. Egyptian and Near Eastern reliefs, also from the Sackler’s collection, show that other ancient civilizations were using color as well. And bronze sculpture is known to have been colored too, with inlays and overlays in different metals, as seen on a bronze head from the Glyptothek in Munich. Visitors can also see films that document the research carried out on the originals and the processes involved in making the reconstructions.

Gods in Color can be seen at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, Cambridge, until January 20, 2013. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Trojan Archer from the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina (detail). Original: Greek, c. 490–480 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich. Color reconstruction by Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann. Photo courtesy Stiftung Archäologie.

Funding for the exhibition and its publications was provided by Christopher and Jean Angell, Walter and Ursula Cliff, Mark B. Fuller, the German Consulate General Boston, the German Foreign Office, Evangelos Karvounis, James and Sonia Kay, Roy Lennox and Joan Weberman, Marian Marill, Markus Michalke, Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, Samuel Plimpton, Laura and Lorenz Reibling, the Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation, and two anonymous donors.

Page 6


Attributed to Sultan Muhammad, Lovers’ Picnic, Painting from a Manuscript of the Divan (Collected Works) of Hafiz, c. 1526–27. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Stuart Cary Welch in honor of Edith Iselin Gilbert Welch, 2007.183.

On View The Harvard University Art Museums are open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Busch-Reisinger Museum Making Myth Modern: Primordial Themes in German 20th-Century Sculpture Through January 3

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts Two or Three Things I Know About Her February 28 through April 6

Fogg Art Museum Overlapping Realms: Arts of the Islamic World and India, 900–1900 Fogg Through February 15 Long Life Cool White: Photographs by Moyra Davey February 28 through June 30

Arthur M. Sackler Museum Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity Through January 20 On the Path of Madness: Representations of Majnun in Persian,Turkish, and Indian Painting Through February 10

Page 8

H/ The next few months will bring a number of exciting programs for Members, Fellows, and donors. Please join us!

Events Calendar DECEMBER F 4 Fogg and International Fellows Day in New York. M 13 Members Holiday Bash, Fogg and Busch-Reisinger Museums, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

JANUARY T 12–20 The Fogg and Inter-national Fellows travel to Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma. F 19 A preview and celebration of Classified Documents: The Social Museum of Harvard University, 1903–1931 with an introductory talk by the curators.

FEBRUARY F 9 Junior Fellows event at the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

MARCH T TBD Fogg and International Fellows tour Tunisia and Libya. F 1 A preview and celebration of Multiple Strategies: Beuys, Maciunas, Fluxus with an introductory talk by Peter Nisbet, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum. F 12 Fellows Day in New York with visits to museum and private collections F 13 Junior Fellows evening at a private print collection in New York. F 27 Curator’s Choice seminar and reception with William W. Robinson, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings. F 4 A preview and celebration of The Last Ruskinians: Charles Eliot Norton, Charles Herbert Moore, and Their Circle with an introductory talk by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., curator of American art.

APRIL M 19 Spring exhibition celebration: gallery talks, tours, and an evening reception.

For more information about joining the Fellows program or about Fellows events, please contact Jennifer Klahn at or 617-496-5317.

Fellows Events Members Events Travel

Harvard Newsletter- Winter 2013  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you