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'The Classical World' on display at the Benton

By Loumarie Rodriguez
On February 5, 2013

 

The Benton is displaying fantastical beings and landscapes in their new January to March exhibit, "These Groves Were Once the Home of Fauns and Nymph: People and Places from the Classical World," taken from the museum's permanent collection.

Located in the Center Gallery, paintings, etchings, oil paintings on wooden panels and even simple drawings line the walls, filled with mythical creatures and famous scenes from well-known novels such as Dante's "Divine Comedy" and the classic "Ulysses." Detailed paintings of scenes from "Ulysses" were brought to life, such as Angelica Kauffmann's "Calypso mourning over Departure of Ulysses" and "Penelope Weeping Over the Bow of Ulysses.

The gallery is meant to show off not only classical gods, goddesses and heroes but also display the setting of classical myths and epic poetry, according to the Benton's website. The exhibit was curated in order to coincide with the Classical Association of New England (CANE) meeting that is being held at UConn in March. CANE is an association whose mission is the study of the classical world, done through activities and resources that typically include the annual meeting, according to their website.

The title of the exhibit is taken from Arcadia by Evander, King of the Tuscans, to the Aeneas in Book 8 of Virgil's "Aeneid." "The Aeneid" is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil dating between 29 and 19 BC that tells the story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy and eventually became an ancestor to the Romans, according to www.gutenberg.org. Evander was a cultural hero from Arcadia, Greece who brought the alphabet and laws to Italy.

Gods and goddesses are sketched to life but with very bizarre body types that only fantastic beings could pull off. There were other unfamiliar creature sketches on display, showing off the unusual minds of the artists that created them. Whether the art display was large or small, there were many different concepts included in the exhibition, even a small photo of a mysterious looking landscape.

Artists ranged from the mid 1600s up to the 1900s. Featured artists are of various ethnicities including Dutch, French and Italian. Italian painter Marco Ricci (1676-1730) had a few landscape paintings amongst the collection.

The featured artists on display include Reginald Marsh, Pietro Testa, Angelica Kauffman, and Frederick Garrison Hall, all of whom have different types of styles and of art interpretation of the mythical creatures and landscapes.     

The exhibition will be on display until March 17. 


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