Monday, August 02, 2010

Cleveland Museum of Art galleries welcome back ancient collections

News Herald (Janet Podolak)

Works from the ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, Egypt and Africa are now in place in 17 recently opened galleries, renovated on the first floor of the Museum's original 1916 Beaux Arts building.

It's all part of the museum's eight-year, $350 million renovation and reconstruction, and this recent opening marks the halfway point for the project. . . .

For the first time, the museum's sub-Saharan African collections, many of which date from the 1800s and later, are displayed in spaces contiguous to the galleries of ancient Egypt to emphasize the regional proximity. Surrounding galleries are connected by larger cultural and historical arcs so visitors may move from the burgeoning civilizations of the ancient Near East to the seafaring cultures of the Greek world and the rise of the Roman Empire, which adopted and reinvented the artists and religious traditions of its predecessors.

That reinvention of the past is made especially apparent with the state of the art non-reflective glass used to frame exhibits, which appear to be floating within their cases. Many of the display cases are freestanding, instead of against a wall, so the visitor can look through the display to see what is behind it.

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