Gods, Goddesses, and Mortals for the 21st Century: The Reinstallation of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Collection of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art


In 2021, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) unveiled five newly revitalized galleries for nearly 550 objects from their renowned collection of Greek and Roman art. The new installations include one featuring Graeco-Roman gods and goddesses and others devoted to Early Greek art, Roman portraiture, the Byzantine Empire, and a gallery for rotating exhibits exploring how 20th- and 21st-century artists have interacted with the art of the ancient Mediterranean. The curatorial team is to be congratulated for maintaining the thought-provoking juxtaposition of objects in a variety of media and from different chronological periods and geographies, as well as augmenting these with state-of-the-art digital installations that enhance viewer experience. Given the importance of provenance in contemporary discussions of ancient objects, though, it seems that the MFA has missed an opportunity here to take the lead in revealing to the public how their amazing collection came to be.

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