Exhibit Information

Onassis Cultural Center

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Website http://www.onassisusa.org/exhibitions.html

HEROES: MORTALS AND MYTHS IN ANCIENT GREECE

Opening: 10/5/2010 - Closing: 1/3/2011

[Admission is free!]

As with the Onassis Center’s amazing previous show—Origins of El-Greco Icon-Painting in Venetian-Crete—the admirable current exhibition brings together an impressive collection of Antique-Sculpture & other artifacts from the Heroic-Age of Western-Civilization.

The age-old figures of Herakles, Odysseus, Achilles, & Helen [of Troy] continue to fire the Popular-Imagination today. As does the concept of Heroes, which began with the stories & images of these & other fabled Greek characters.

In the World of Greek-Antiquity, to its people, it seemed alive with Heroes & Heroines. This show explores the Lives, Fates & Meanings of the recorded Heroes & Heroines, but it also examines the inherent Human-Need for Heroes.

Heroes brings together more than 90 exceptional art-works focusing on the Archaic, the Classical, & the Hellenistic Periods [from the 6th to the 1st century BC], a number of them from American Collections.

The objects range from large-scale architectural-sculptures to decorated-pottery & miniature carved-gemstones. The show is designed to demonstrate how the ancient Greek Heroes were understood & how they served as role-models.

The first section of the exhibition—Heroes in Myth—presents objects depicting moments in the lives of Herakles, Achilles, Odysseus, & Helen, suggesting the complexities inherent in the ancient Greek concept of Heroism.

Although Common-Motifs emerge—such as the extraordinary Parentage & Births of the Heroes, their remarkable Deeds, & their troubled-experiences in Marriage—the Character-Traits, Struggles, & Deaths of these four figures were distinctly different.

But they all became immortalized after death.

The second-section—Heroes in Cult—deals with the belief in the hero’s Survival after Death by illuminating the ancient Greek practice of worshiping Heroes at local shrines. They were believed to be not only Protectors, Healers, or Helpers, but also as dangerous & haunted Revenants. The Greeks held festivals in their honor, performing Rituals, offering Sacrifices, & asking for protection, fertility, or healing.

Objects involved in Hero-Worship include Votive-Reliefs, Votive-Offerings, & Grave-Monuments.

Heroes as Role-Models brings the exhibition closer to our ideas of Heroism by exploring how ancient Greek Warriors, Athletes, Musicians, & Rulers modeled their behavior on Heroes. Objects on view range from black-figure vase-paintings of Soldiers & Racing-Jockeys to coins bearing the images of kings dressed as Herakles.

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