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Art Institute of Chicago opens Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art

The Art Institute of Chicago has opened the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art.

Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art. wHY Architecture.

These dramatic new sunlit spaces, situated in McKinlock Court (G150–154), a strategic crossroad of the museum, have been fully re-imagined to present some of the Art Institute’s oldest and most significant objects in fresh and compelling new ways. With over 150 exceptional loans from private collections and public institutions around the world complementing the museum’s own rich holdings, the inaugural display, titled Of Gods and Glamour, allows the Art Institute to tell the rich story of lives led in the ancient and medieval Mediterranean world. Life-size marble sculptures of goddesses and portraits of emperors and empresses speak to worldly religious and power beliefs, while the humans and gods who cavort on ancient Greek pottery speak to more human pleasures and earthly delights. Dazzling jewelry and shiny silver tableware give an indication of the “good life” lived hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. The unveiling of the Jaharis Galleries also includes an inaugural celebratory exhibition of 51 incomparable works of late Roman and early Byzantine art loaned by the British Museum, many of which have never before traveled to the United States. The artworks in the exhibition reflect the splendor of privileged households and important ecclesiastical sites between A.D. 350 and 650, and include opulent silver vessels, carved ivories, and gem-encrusted jewelry. Late Roman and Early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum will be on view in McKinlock Court through August 25, 2013.

Designed by the museum’s Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art and Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, the new galleries, including state-of-the-art display cases built by Goppion Museum Workshop in Milan, Italy, were made possible by the generosity of the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc. Mary and Michael Jaharis’ gift of $10 million to the Art Institute in February 2011—the largest gift ever
received by the museum in support of ancient Mediterranean and Byzantine art—will also be used to enhance the Art Institute’s acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programs, and has even allowed for the creation of a new curatorial department at the museum.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404