"Devotion and Decadence" in the New York Review of Books

By Maggie Pavao

James Romm selected our current exhibition Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury from the Bibliothèque nationale de France to be featured in the New York Review of Books. 

Romm comments on the iconic statuette of Mercury in the exhibition's first gallery:

"Mercury himself greets visitors as they enter the show’s main room: A silver statuette, nearly two feet high and gloriously naked, its pose a relaxed contrapposto reminiscent of the Greek sculptor Polycleitus. Mercury lost his moneybag at some point over the centuries but his left hand still holds an exquisite caduceus, its two silver snakes somehow tied around the wand in an elaborate knot. The craftsmanship of late Roman metalsmiths, here and throughout the show, is simply astonishing."

In addition to covering the "devotion" objects as part of the Berthouville Treasure, Romm also takes a deep look into Roman "decadence" in the exhibition's second gallery. The objects on view include "an assemblage of late Roman luxury items collected by France’s kings (now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). Silver is in the spotlight here too, especially in four massive missoria, serving plates so large they were once thought to be shields. But the workmanship of cameos, glassware, and one superb section of mosaic will also dazzle the visitor.

Take a look at the whole review here: https://www.nybooks.com/event/devotion-and-decadence-the-berthouville-treasure-and-roman-luxury/