Museum Expands International Partnerships

The Center for Hellenic Studies and the Art Museum recently signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a multi-year partnership with the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece. Building on a series of communications and exchanges over the past two decades, this exciting new partnership is part of a broader strategy to develop an international network that advances each institution’s mission through the common goals and collective resources—works of art, curatorial and scholarly expertise—that complement those of its partner institution.

The partnership will serve the teaching and research mission of the University through a primary focus on the Greek world—ancient, medieval, and modern—under the aegis of the Center for Hellenic Studies and relevant academic departments. The partnership will also serve to enhance the Benaki Museum’s global visibility, promoting its international profile as a research institution and leveraging the substantial intellectual resources of Princeton University.

The memorandum encompasses six primary areas of potential collaboration: exchange of exhibitions; long-term loans of works of art; exchange of artists in residence; exchange visits by curators; summer internships and other student/young scholar exchanges; and information exchange and mutual promotion. Curatorial exchanges already are underway, with the Art Museum and the Stanley J. Seeger ’52 Center for Hellenic Studies recently hosting a weeklong visit by Anastasia Drandaki, curator of Byzantine art at the Benaki,and the Benaki hosting Kelly Baum, Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The Onassis Cultural Center’s exhibition Transition to Christianity: Art of Late Antiquity, 3rd–7th century A.D., on view in New York through May 14, features work lent by the Art Museum. The exhibition presents more than 170 exceptional works of art, many lent by Greek museums and never before seen outside of Greece, that reveal the Greek world between the third and the seventh centuries a.d., an era known as Late Antiquity. The works reflect the lively creative spirit prevailing in the Eastern Mediterranean during a period when the new Christian civilization of Byzantium was coming into existence around its capital, Constantinople. Transition to Christianity highlights the unusual and colorful life of a world in the midst of reinvention and renewal.

The exhibition enjoys the scholarly support of a faculty advisory committee from the Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University, including Director Dimitri Gondicas and emeriti professors Peter Brown and Slobodan Ćurčić. In addition to four gold coins from the Princeton University Library, the Art Museum is lending five works to the exhibition: a marble sarcophagus relief of the Good Shepherd; an inlaid bronze plaque with Hercules and the Hydra; a limestone reliquary in the form of a church; a gold pendant depicting St. Thekla; and a marble pilaster capital.