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Gibbes Museum of Art to Display Rare Collection of Greek Geometric Art 2022

Bronze handles with horses

The Gibbes Museum of Art will display From Chaos to Order: Greek Geometric Art from the Sol Rabin Collection, the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. to focus on Greek art during the Geometric period (c. 900–700 B.C.) in more than 25 years. The show features 57 objects from the Sol Rabin Collection, considered the most important Geometric Greek collection in private hands. Chaos to Order: Greek Geometric Art from the Sol Rabin Collection will be on display in the museum’s Galleries 2 & 3 from Oct. 14, 2022 – March 5, 2023.

“We’re always striving to introduce innovative art forms to our community, and this exhibition will expand the story of art well beyond our permanent collection,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “This rare collection re-examines the contributions and innovations of Geometric art and its enduring legacy throughout classical antiquity and into the modern era. It also helps us to understand the significance of balance, beauty and form in art throughout human history.”

Chaos to Order is the first exhibition of its kind to focus on the aesthetics of Greek Geometric art and to demonstrate that stylistic principles in visual art during the Geometric period reflect a characteristically Greek idea of kallos, meaning the beautiful. A new visual vocabulary was developed during this period – one that stressed clarity, balance and symmetry. These design principles may appear contemporary, but they provided the foundation for all subsequent Greek art.

The exhibition includes a diverse range of Greek Geometric artworks: figures, animals, vases and personal ornaments such as warrior belts and pendants. The centerpiece is a ring-handled tripod cauldron, the only surviving example of the Geometric period still standing on its legs. Collectively these artworks provide a new approach to understanding pre-classical Greek art, and the elements of design that would be foundational for many Western civilizations.

The museum will host the following programming in association with From Chaos to Order:

Greek Geometric Art with Steve Gavel – Oct. 12, 19, 26

Dr. Steve Gavel, art historian, collector and archaeologist, will host a special series of lectures dedicated to the Greek Geometric period. In this lecture series, Dr. Gavel will explore the styles, culture and history surrounding pieces like those found in the exhibition From Chaos to Order. Tickets are $80 for members, $100 for non-members and $50 for student/faculty.

From Chaos to Order Tour with Curator Michael Bennett – Oct. 14; 9:30 & 11:00 a.m.

Senior Curator of Early Western Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg Dr. Michael Bennett will give guided tours of the exhibit introducing guests to the ancient Greek Geometric period. Tickets are $20 for members, $30 non-members and $10 for students/faculty with valid ID.

From Chaos to Harmony – Oct. 26

In this performance with New Muse Concerts, an early Beethoven piano trio embodies the Classical Greek ideals of beauty, clarity and balance. Brahms brings a maturity and craftsmanship to the work that lifts every note to new heights. See the goddesses, musicians and animals of the Gibbes exhibition, From Chaos to Order, leap to life in response. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 for non-members and $15 for student/faculty with ID.

K-12 Professional Development Workshop – Jan. 28, 2023

Inspired by From Chaos to Order, educators will learn how to incorporate this historic time period and artwork into their classrooms. Teaching Artist Martha Criscuolo will provide a detailed lesson plan incorporating themes and techniques present in the exhibition in this hands-on class. Everyone who attends will receive a certificate documenting their two hours towards professional development credit. This event is free for all educators and is made possible by the generous funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Mark Elliott Motley Foundation, The Post and Courier Foundation and the Gibbes Women’s Council.

From Chaos to Order: Greek Geometric Art from the Sol Rabin Collection is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.

Published October 12, 2022

Top image: Installation shot from Chas to Order. Photo by MCG Photography

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