In 1977, Romare Bearden (1911-1988), one of the most powerful and original artists of the 20th century, created a series of collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem, "The Odyssey". Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden’s Odyssey series created an artistic bridge between classical mythology and African American culture. The works conveyed a sense of timelessness and the universality of the human condition, but their brilliance was displayed for only two months in New York City before being scattered to private collections and public art museums.
An exciting temporary exhibition on the representations of the eternal city includes maps, views, and books on Rome from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Maps are a focus for each period, while the title refers to the individual themes or attitudes that characterized each era.