National Tour of Parthenon Drawings by Fairfield University Professor Opens in NYC
Combining art, history, and archaeology to powerful effect “An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab,” a new exhibition of drawings by Katherine A. Schwab, Ph. D., Fairfield University professor of art history, provides a glimpse into a world once inhabited by the ancient Greeks. Comprised of thirty-five works on paper, the exhibition opens to the public at the Greek Consulate General in New York on January 16, 2014, and is on view there through February 13, 2014. It then will tour nationally through 2017, marking the first time this collection of drawings travels in the United States. (full exhibition schedule follows). The Greek Consulate General in New York is located at 69 East 79th Street, New York, NY. Visiting hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Admission is free.
In 2005, the American art historian and archaeologist Katherine A. Schwab, Ph.D. began experimenting with graphite and pastel on paper in an effort to develop a new method for recording her research on the badly deteriorated ancient Parthenon metope sculptures in Greece. She found that careful drawing enabled her to make new observations and scholarly discoveries, which have in turn contributed to the larger understanding of the east and north metope series. Many of these drawings have been assembled for “An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab,” an exhibition that invites the viewer into an imagined world once inhabited by Pheidias and his fellow sculptors. The exhibition opens with sixteen pastel and graphite drawings depicting the fight for supremacy on Mount Olympus. It continues with twelve graphite drawings of the Sacking of Troy, and concludes with seven graphite drawings of figures from the frieze and pediments she developed to help visualize the metope compositions. Through these drawings, the Parthenon metopes are being reimagined in our time. The sustained narrative of the earth-born Giants defeated by the Olympian Gods and the Sacking of Troy are once again recreated within each viewing, compelling the viewer to re-envision the elusive image.
“Earlier archaeological renderings used lines to denote figures in the Parthenon’s metope sculptures,” said Dr. Schwab. “These images did not, however, convey important visual information, including the preserved depth of surviving contours of these figures, many of which were severely damaged in the 6th century when the ancient Greek temple was converted to a Christian church.” Dr. Schwab’s works on paper fill this void while creating an engaging aesthetic and intellectual tension between what is preserved and what has been lost.
Katherine A. Schwab, Ph.D. is a professor of art history in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and curator of the Plaster Cast Collection in the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. She received her bachelor’s degree from Scripps College followed by a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is a member of the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Gray-scale scans of Schwab’s metope drawings are on permanent display in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.
“An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab” has been organized by the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, Creighton University, Omaha, NE, and the Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, CA.
Exhibition’s touring dates, 2014-2017, are as follows:
Greek Consulate General in New York; Jan. 16 to Feb. 13, 2014 (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.), 69 East 79th Street, New York, NY
Greek Embassy/Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.; Mar. 7 to early summer, 2014
Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Sept. 13 – Dec. 7, 2014
Lied Art Gallery, Creighton University, Omaha, NE; Feb. 21 – March 29, 2015
California State University, Sacramento, CA; Spring 2015
Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, OR; Nov. 15 – Feb. 15, 2016
Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, CA; March 31 – July 3, 2016
The Nashville Parthenon, Nashville, TN; September 4, 2016 – January 1, 2017
For updates about the exhibition and its exhibition schedule, please visit www.fairfield.edu/parthenon
Image caption: "Hermes attacks a collapsing giant," paper, 8 9/16 x 10 15/16 inches, Brown pastel on paper, K.A. Schwab, 2005.