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Art Museum Buildings

From the Collection–Marble Through the Ages

Gaetano Trentanove, The Last of the Spartans (Detail), ca. 1892. Marble. Layton Art Collection, Gift of William E. Cramer. Photo by the author.
Gaetano Trentanove, The Last of the Spartans (Detail), ca. 1892. Marble. Layton Art Collection, Gift of William E. Cramer. Photo by the author.

The Museum Collection contains endless stories. Our paintings hold narratives of mythological legends; decorative art objects tell us of life way-back-when; contemporary art puts our finger on the pulse of what is going on now. But have you ever traced a story through the Collection? There are many ways to do this: you could follow an artist’s work through his or her lifetime, a collector’s vision (Mrs. Bradley, Mr. Layton, the list goes on…), or you could really veer off the beaten track and follow the story of a material–you know, what an art object is made out of. One of our super-star materials? Marble!

Categories
Art Curatorial

From the Collection–Ancient Greek Vases

Niobid Painter (Greek, Attic, active ca. 470–ca. 445 BC). Hydria (Water Jar), ca. 460 BC. Red-figure terracotta. Gift of Mrs. Douglass Van Dyke, in Memory of Douglass Van Dyke, to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo credit Larry Sander
Niobid Painter (Greek, Attic, active ca. 470–ca. 445 BC). Hydria (Water Jar), ca. 460 BC. Red-figure terracotta. Gift of Mrs. Douglass Van Dyke, in Memory of Douglass Van Dyke, to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo credit Larry Sander

The Milwaukee Art Museum may have a small collection of ancient Mediterranean art, but we have some great pieces!

Take, for instance, our two ancient Greek Hydria.  Walk into Gallery 1, and you will see them in the free-standing case on the right. 

What is so exciting about Greek vases?  Well, for one thing, they are some of the only artwork that we have remaining from this important ancient civilization.  In particular, their decorations are the only hint that we have of what ancient Greek painting looked like.  Practically all ancient painting has been destroyed due to its fragility.  Greek vases survived because they were put into tombs and sanctuaries as offerings.  In fact, the accident of their survival has made them more important to us than to the Greeks, who for the most part did not seem them as great art and used them as everyday objects.