Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome

Over our spring break, the Getty Villa's exhibition Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome opened, which focuses on the life and culture of ancient Sicily from the 5th through 3rd c. BCE and will run through this summer to August 19.

Despite its title, the materials in the exhibition are primarily Sikeliote Greek, including some sculpture, unique pottery, rare coins, and a few other interesting pieces (e.g. the spectacular golden "Phiale of Achyris").

Of especial interest are the materials devoted to the Sicilian engineer Archimedes, including a page from a palimpsest recording his work on his famous stomachion problem ("Archimedes' square").  Novelty versions of the square are available in the Villa's gift shop.

The exhibition is organized thematically, with features on the island's initial colonization by the Greeks, its literary culture, and its religion (focusing, of course, on Demeter).  The materials on literature and art are particularly interesting, given that several prominent Greek literary figures like Pindar and Aeschylus, visited Sicily, leaving their mark on its culture.
Marigolds beside a fig tree

The Villa's side production for the exhibition, as is customary, is fantastic, and the exhibition catalog, which is designed to bridge the gap in scholarship in this period, is beautiful.

As an added bonus for visitors right now, several of the flowers in the Villa's several gardens are in bloom, making the Sikeliote art not the only attraction worth visiting.

The Latin program will sponsor a tour of the Getty Villa later this spring on Sunday, May 19 on behalf of the HWPA Partybook, and we'll certainly explore this exhibition in great detail.