Permanent Collection: Greek and Roman Art
The collections of Greek and Roman Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum span over four millennia. The earliest, Neolithic pieces are approximately 4000 BC; the latest, Roman, fourth-fifth centuries AD. Works in many media are represented, including gold, silver, electrum, bronze, lead, ivory and bone, marbles of many kinds including colored ones, semi-precious stones (carnelian, rock-crystal, garnet), glass, and clay. Since 1983, the generosity of Michael C. and Thalia Carlos has enabled the collection to grow astonishingly, both in extent and quality, and has attracted widespread support and acclaim.
The objects featured here are only a selection. One of the earliest bathtubs in the world, the Minoan larnax offers fresh, direct contact with Bronze Age Greece. The architectural pithos would have stored water for a family in seventh century BC; it is from a vessel of this shape, not a box, that Pandora removed the lid. The fifth century marble grave relief of an athlete and the Roman sarcophagus exemplify monuments to the deceased, while the symposion cup, made in Athens around 480 BC depicts a lively drinking party. The splendid depiction of the death of Aktaion on a vessel made to mix wine with water shortly after the Parthenon was completed, opens the rich world of Greek mythology. The bronze hydria may have been made as a bride's dowry. Portraiture, one of the greatest achievements of the classical world, is represented by the exquisite garnet head of Berenike II and the over life-size portrait of Tiberius. Idealizing beauty, another element of classical art at its best, is sensitively captured in the statue of the muse of dance, Terpsichore.