Cleveland Museum of Art to Open Renovated Galleries

. May 16, 2010 . 0 Comments

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) collections from the ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, Egypt and Africa, as well as works from Late Antiquity, the Byzantine Empire and the European Middle Ages, will return to public view on June 26.

The works will be showcased in 17 newly renovated galleries, which also include dedicated spaces for the museum’s holdings of prints and drawings, in the first level of the museum’s original Beaux-Arts building, designed by Hubbell and Benes. Their unveiling will mark the next milestone in a multi-phase renovation and expansion, scheduled for completion in 2013. The project is designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and will add 200,000 square feet to the museum.

The New Galleries
Two sets of stairs lead visitors from the upper-level galleries of European and American art (reopened in 2008) down to a foyer that showcases the life-size bronze statue of the Apollo Sauroktonos attributed to Praxiteles, one of the most influential Greek artists of the Classical period. From that entry point, a chronological narrative will unfold over a 16,000-square-foot suite of galleries. Within each historical area, objects will be organized thematically to foster awareness of — and promote insights into — their function and meaning for the cultures that produced them.

“The remarkable works that will be displayed in these galleries were critical to the development of the visual arts as we know them,” says Griffith Mann, chief curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Our goal has been to showcase the artistic achievements of ancient cultures to their best advantage and, at the same time, integrate these objects as part of the greater museum experience.”

For the first time, the museum’s sub-Saharan African collections will be displayed in spaces contiguous to the galleries of ancient Egyptian art so that the works produced on the African continent can be seen and studied together. Surrounding galleries are connected by larger cultural and historical arcs, allowing visitors to move from the burgeoning civilizations of the ancient Near East to the seafaring culture of the Greek world and the rise of the Roman empire, which adopted and reinvented the artistic and religious traditions of its predecessors.

In adjoining galleries, visitors will encounter Byzantine and western medieval art in installations that forge connections to the ritual and ceremonial functions of the works on view. First-person narratives incorporated in introductory text panels throughout the galleries, as well as via a new audio tour, will connect contemporary audiences with ancient and medieval voices.

Category: Fine Art

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