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Organized in conjunction with Professor Susan Rotroff's course on ancient Athens offered through the Department of Classics, this exhibition presents a series of vases from the ancient Greek symposium--a highly choreographed, artistocratic, all-male drinking party that often drew to a close with a riotous parade about the shuttered streets of town. Yet intoxication was not the sole feature of these gatherings--frequently, as Plato's Symposium represents, a specific philosophical topic was hotly debated, poetry was recited, and music performed. During these vibrant affairs, guests reclined upon couches, dined, and lingered in conversation over their wine. Each vase fulfilled a specific function. By tracing this sequence, the display captures the flow of the ancient party while the decoration of the vases themselves mirror the festivity or express symposium themes of love, heroic courage, and Dionysiac mythology.

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Selected works

The Teaching Gallery is a space in the Kemper Art Museum dedicated to presenting works from the Museum's collection with direct connections to Washington University courses. Teaching Gallery installations are intended to serve as parallel classrooms and can be used to supplement courses through object-based inquiry, research, and learning. Learn more