On November 11th, the Art Institute of Chicago opens its Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art. I have to give the AIC a lot of credit for the best museum construction sign ever! I saw this while visiting in August:
Greek art, get it?
Anyways, these galleries sit awkwardly in the hallway to the Chagall windows making it a difficult space for a curator to work with. The remodeling construction this summer consisted of numerous, single item sized, free standing display cases. From the few mockup images I’ve seen, the galleries will be a lot less crowded and more focused. (Click here for a panorama of one of the former Roman galleries). I presume fewer items will be displayed making for a more focused collection. If anyone stops soon, I’d appreciate a report back on the new space!
Map of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Image: crystalinks.com)
While I am keeping a count of UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited, I realized that I am quickly racking up the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. I saw 2 alone in Turkey! I should use the verb “saw” loosely as both sites are essentially destroyed but definitely a notable stop along the way.
Everyone knows Ephesus and its iconic library. Maybe you even know Troy or Alexander the Great’s Pergamon. These are wonderful archaeological sites, but if you are in Turkey and love classical ruins, you absolutely have to visit Aphrodisias. A mere side-note in most guidebooks, I found that Aphrodisias had some of the most impressive architectural and sculptural pieces in Turkey and was completely devoid of tourists when we visited.
Major archaeological sites in central western Turkey: Aphrodisias (A), Pamukkale/Hierapolis (P) and Ephesus (E) (Adapted from Google)
Aphrodisias Agora theater frieze (Photo: Daydream Tourist)
I just returned from two incredible weeks in Turkey! I’m still processing the experience and my impressions of the country. But on a more practical matter, I’ve only just started looking at my 1300 photographs!
I’ll start with a detail from the Agora at Aphrodisias. The ancient Roman market there was encircled with this Theater Frieze depicting known mythological characters and dramatic masks linked with a floral and fruit garland. The blocks are stacked near the entrance to the site forming a wall of quirky and unique faces. Aphrodisias itself was one of the most impressive archaeological sites I have ever seen and we had it almost completely to ourselves.