Ishtar Gate Lion, Babylon, Iraq

Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion Neo-Babylonian Period; Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq; CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

CANCELLED: Artifacts and Afterlives: The Modern Reception of Ancient Mesopotamia

Exhibition Lecture

Frederick N. Bohrer

Hood College

Please Note: This event has been CANCELLED. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Since the initial Western excavation of Assyrian artifacts in the 1840’s, the material remains of ancient Mesopotamia have posed a challenge both historical and aesthetic.  Unlike Greco-Roman and Egyptian remains, the variety of styles, materials, scales and types of Mesopotamian objects both amazed and befuddled viewers, from scholars to artists to popular audiences.  This talk will examine both what various interpreters have made of Mesopotamia and what artists, artisans, theatrical designers and others have made out of Mesopotamia, in its successive revelation of Assyrian, Sumerian, Babylonian and other portions of its production, from its discovery to the present.   In the process, we can learn at least as much about the imaginations of modern viewers as about Mesopotamia itself.

Fred Bohrer is a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Archaeology of Hood College in Frederick, MD.  He is the author of Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in 19th-Century Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Photography and Archaeology (Reaktion Books, 2011).  He served as curator and catalog editor of Antoin Sevruguin and the Persian Image: Photographs of Iran 1870-1930 (University of Washington Press, 1999), an exhibition shown at the Freer/Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and the Sackler Museum of Harvard University.  He is the author of numerous articles on the history, theory, and practice of cross-cultural representation, particularly in connection with the Western image of the peoples, cultures, and histories of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  

This talk is given in conjunction with ISAW's exhibition A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate. This exhibition along with its associated catalogue and programming are made possible by generous support from the Selz Foundation, The Achelis and Bodman Foundation, and the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional funding provided by the Dennis and Diane Bennett Charitable Trust, Elizabeth Bartman, and Karen S. Rubinson.


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