Glimpses VI

Filed under: Art,Family Updates,Glimpses — Chamberlain @ 12:28 pm
No. 53

“Drink with me, play music with me, love with me, wear a crown with me, be mad with me when I am mad and wise when I am wise” (Athenaeus, an antiquarian ca. 170-230 BCE)

Zellie McClelland’s Spotlight Gallery Talk “Serious Drinking: Vases of the Greek Symposium” was presented Sept 3 2008 at the Washington University Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. The presentation provided a illuminating history of the Greek symposium – “a highly choreographed all-male drinking party that often drew to a close with a riotous parade about the shuttered streets of town”.

Zellie’s gallery exhibit, organized in collaboration with Professor Susan Rotroff of the Classics and Art Departments, includes a formal recreation of the ‘andron’ (a ‘for men only’ space designed for entertaining). It features rarely displayed and exquisite period piece vases from the Washington University antiquities collection. The exhibit augments the fall 2008 course “Ancient Athens” which looks at both the archeological and literary records from the 4th century BCE.

Here are a few photos from the opening of the exhibit.

The Mildred Lane Kemper at Wasington University
The Exhibit Poster
Exhibit Opening – Zel’s Presentation
The Nolan Amphora (475-465 BCE) on display


Zellie is a PhD candidate in the Department of Classics and the Department of Art History and Archeology. Her exhibit “Serious Drinking” will remain on view in the Teaching Gallery of the Kemper until January 5, 2009. This link to the Spotlight Gallery Talk series is worth browsing. If you are in the Washington University vicinity you will enjoy seeing this fine new gallery and Zel’s exhibit.

An Aside

“Greek Life” on American University campuses began with Phi Beta Kappa, founded December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Formed as a literary fraternity for faculty and students, Phi Beta Kappa “grew into the most prominent and respected honorary society in academe” (Wikipedia). Subsequently, Greek-letter student societies (beginning with Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi, and Delta Phi, the “Union Triad” formed in the 1820’s at Union college in Schenectady, New York) were primarily social societies whose members were exclusively students rather than faculty.

One might wonder why these organizations adopted Greek mottos and letters as emblems. Though not by intent, Zellie’s exhibit provides a possible explanation, spotlighting the similarities between the Athenian ‘symposia’ and the American college fraternities. Indeed the subject matter of the Nolan Amphora itself may suggest a ‘hazing’ of a youth preliminary to his acceptance into the “men’s club”.


The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi

The Symposiarc

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