Coming of Age in Ancient Greece

August 23, 2003, through December 14, 2003
Images of Childhood from the Classical Past



Temporary Exhibitions, Lathrop, Jaffe, Hall, Friends, and Cheatham Galleries


It is not widely known that ancient Greek artists were the first to create images of children that showed them as they were instead of as miniature adults. They also observed and recorded children’s characteristic gestures, their bonding with parents and caregivers, their various activities from learning to crawl to assisting in religious ceremonies, and their love of play. In the absence of extensive written testimony about children from this period, artifacts and images are a vital link to the lives of girls and boys from birth to adolescence.

Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past is the first major exhibition to explore these images of childhood from ancient Greece. Over 120 art objects on loan from American, Canadian, and European collections chronicle the emotional and familial environment in which children were raised, their participation in religious rituals, the commemorative objects that marked their early death, and their transition to adulthood. The exhibition also presents images and stories of children in mythology. Painted vases, sculptures, grave monuments, and artifacts such as toys and baby feeders bring ancient Greek children’s experiences to life.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, promoting excellence in the humanities. The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (U.S.A.) is also a major supporter of the exhibition, the exhibition catalog, and the scholarly symposium, and the Onassis Cultural Center will be one of the venues of the exhibition, with an additional special section entitled The Olympic Spirit. The presentation of this exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art is generously supported by the Philip Fowler 1927 Memorial Fund, the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund, the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. J. Hall Fund, the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art, and the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College.

Exhibition Curator

Katherine W. Hart | Jenifer Neils | John H. Oakley

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Exhibition subject: Ancient ArtEurope