Regards croisés sur la Méditerranée antique
Edited by Jean-Luc Chappaz and Robert S. Bianchi
This book invites the reader to explore the ancient art of the Mediterranean basin (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome) through a selection of exceptional works from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art and the Museum of Art and History, in Geneva, as well as from the archives of the Genevan archaeologists Édouard and Marguerite Naville, who made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the art and religion of these cultures.
The catalogue, like the exhibition, is divided into two sections. The first, “Bodies and Faces” compares the representation of the human figure in various ancient arts. The interplay between these masterpieces reveals a shared domain in which the civilisations meet and converse. Encompassing as they do a broad range of expression and emotion, these sculptures interact and complement one another across the Mediterranean, in a questioning mise en abyme, in spite of the centuries that separate us. The second part, “Spirit and Spirituality” highlights the work of the humanists who gradually brought to light the soul, the art, and the refinement of these societies that were so distant in time. Particular importance is given to beliefs and their expression: around one hundred carefully selected objects offer answers to questions that mutatis mutandis are still pressing today. But the spirit is equally present in the art of the living, in turn reflected in refined toilet accessories and jewellery, as well as the elegant receptacles in which they were kept. This section ends with a broad panorama of objects, starting with bas-reliefs, providing an overview of three millennia of art history.
Jean-Luc Chappaz is the main organizer of the exhibition and head curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Art and History, in Geneva.
Robert S. Bianchi is head curator of Archaeology at the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art and the foundation’s scientific advisor for this exhibition.