Hymn to Apollo: Joint Lecture at La Maison Française

Exhibition Lecture

Clare Fitzgerald


What can we know about ancient dance? Why did European avant-garde artists look to the past at the beginning of the twentieth century? This talks presents an overview of the current ISAW exhibition Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes (on view March 6–June 2, 2019). The exhibition’s co-curator will deliver an illustrated lecture about what we know about dance in antiquity, as well as the influence of this history on modernist reinventions of the Ballets Russes (1909–1929).

A Paris-based company led by Sergei Diaghilev (1872–1929), the Ballets Russes revolutionized ballet by bringing together some of the generation’s most exciting choreographers, dancers, artists, and composers. Presenting a new, modern vision of dance that frequently drew inspiration from the ancient world, they influenced a generation of contemporaries across the arts. More than a simple story of the reception of antiquity by artists in the twentieth century, Hymn to Apollo shows how artists returned to the past not as benighted traditionalists but as radical revolutionaries, intent on creating something new.

Clare Fitzgerald is associate director for exhibitions and gallery curator at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.