Monday, March 23, 2020

Happy Days Will Come Again

Claude Monet (1840 - 1926), Garden at Sainte-Adresse, 1867, 
oil on canvas, 38 5/8 x 51 1/8 in. (98.1 x 129.9 cm)
Photo:  Artstor

ArtWithHillary will not be published for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.  For now, I encourage readers to explore the Web sites of  museums, galleries and other art venues.

Stay safe and healthy.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Andrew Wyeth's World Revisited

View of exhibition Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades
January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020, Forum Gallery, New York
l to r:  In the Orchard, 1974, watercolor and graphite on paper,
 21 5/8 x 29 7/8 in. (54.93 x 75.88 cm), 
Maine Door, 1970, watercolor on paper, 29 x 21 in. (73.66 x 53.34 cm) sight size, 
Teel's Landing, 1953, watercolor on paper, 19 x 28 in. (48.26 x 71.12 cm), 
Heat Lightning, 1977, tempera on panel, 20 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. (52.07 x 78.11 cm)
Installation Photo Courtesy of Forum Gallery
© 2020 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Is Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009) the most underrated or overrated artist?  Or, as the art historian, critic and curator Robert Rosenblum (1927 - 2006) claimed in 1977, he is both.  Rosenblum said, "He is the most overestimated painter by the public and the most underestimated painter by the knowing art audience."

Wyeth, called Andy by family and friends, has always elicited opposing reactions.  Some respond to his work as kitsch, as overly sentimental and cloyingly romantic with its traditional subject matter of landscapes, seascapes and portraiture.  Others hold he is an artist of genius possessing extraordinary technical skills, expressive capabilities and is a master of the mediums of his choice.  

Wyeth is categorized as a realist or magic realist artist. Yet, he described himself as an abstract painter.  When the American realist painter and printmaker Edward Hopper (1882 - 1967) wanted Wyeth to sign a petition protesting the increasing number of abstract expressionists who had been included in the 1966 annual exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, he objected.  Wyeth felt a kinship with such abstract painters as Clyfford Still (1904 - 1980) and Mark Rothko (1903 - 1970) in that their work and his went beyond what could be seen.  He said he probably had more in common with abstract expressionist Franz Kline (1910 - 1962) than people realized. Wyeth may also have wanted to avoid public controversy since a major show of his work dating from 1938 through 1966 was touring and coming to the Whitney in February 1967.*

The Forum Gallery's current exhibition Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades, January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020, includes 22 paintings, watercolors and drawings, the earliest from 1940, the latest c. 1999. The installation provides an opportunity for close observation of different aspects of Wyeth's painting and draftsmanship.  

View of exhibition Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades
January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020 Forum Gallery, New York
 l to r:  Surf, 1978, dry brush watercolor on paper, 
 48 x 29 1/4 in. (121.92 x 74.3 cm), 
Lamplight, 1975, watercolor on paper, 21 1/2 x 21 3/8 in. (54.61  x 73.98 cm), 
Cook's Wharf, 1940, watercolor on paper, 17 3/8 x 28 in. (44.13 x 54.29 cm), 
Winfields (first version of Heat Lightning), 1977, watercolor on paper, 
20 1/2 x 30 in. (54.61 x 76.2  cm)
Installation Photo Courtesy of Forum Gallery
© 2020 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Wyeth was born to a family of artists and was taught by his highly successful painter illustrator father Newel Convers Wyeth known as N. C. Wyeth.  He was the youngest of five children who all spent evenings drawing.  The family lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and summered in Cushing, Maine.  The artist would spend his life in Chadds Ford and Maine painting his surroundings, family and friends. His father was his greatest influence.  Early on, however, he had a keen interest in the work of the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528) and the watercolors of the American painter Winslow Homer (1836 - 1910).  Wyeth had his first solo exhibition in 1937 when he was twenty. It took place at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City, the first art gallery to specialize in American art.  All 23 paintings catalogued sold out in 2 days.  It was the first of many distinctions that came to the artist throughout his career.  

In 1955 Wyeth was the youngest member elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.  He was the first artist ever to have a one-person show in the White House, Washington, DC, February 19, 1970 - March 28, 1970. He was the first living American artist to have a solo exhibit in New York's Metropolitan Museum of ArtOctober 16, 1976 - February 6, 1977 and the first living American artist to have an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, June 6 1980 - August 31, 1980. Wyeth received some 26 honorary doctorate degrees including one from Harvard University.  He had exhibits throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia.  In 1963 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by John F. Kennedy, a first for a visual artist and the same year was on the cover of Time magazine.  He was elected as an associate to the Académie des Beaux-Art Institut de France in 1976, the only American painter besides John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) to become a member.  In 1990 Wyeth was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George H. W. Bush, which had never been given to a visual artist before. President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Arts in 2007 a little over a year before his death in January 2009.  On the 100th anniversary of Wyeth's birth, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet with 12 stamps each with a different image of the artist's paintings. 

Wyeth chose to work in the quick-drying mediums of tempera and watercolor.  The former is made by mixing pigments with egg yolk that has been diluted with distilled water; the latter is made by mixing pigments with a binder such as gum arabic. Tempera is applied to a prepared support such as a wood panel covered with gesso which is a mix of chalk, glue binder and white pigment that makes for a smooth, hard, absorbent surface.  Watercolor paint is applied with water to a support like paper.  The water evaporates and the binder fastens the pigments to the support surface.  Both mediums require the artist to apply layer upon layer of paint to achieve desired colors and textures.  

Wyeth is noted for his innovative use of dry brush technique.  In a 1976 interview with Thomas Hoving (1931 -2009) then director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the artist explained "I paint with a smaller brush, dip it into color, splay the brush and bristles, squeeze out a good deal of the moisture and color with my fingers so there is only a very small amount of paint left. Then when I stroke the paper with the dried brush, it will make various distinct strokes at once, and I start to develop the forms of whatever object it is until they start to have real body…."   He could also achieve highly detailed imagery with dry brush.  The artist employed a variety of other techniques for instance, with watercolors, wet on wet, color splattering and sgraffito or scratching.

View of exhibition Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades
January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020, Forum Gallery, New York
l to r:  Winfields (first version of Heat Lightning) 1977, watercolor on paper, 
20 1/2 x 30 in. (54.61 x 76.2  cm)
Pickup Sticks, 1994, watercolor on paper,
 16 3/4 x 27 1/2 in. (42.55 x 69.85 cm), 
Letting Her Hair Down, 1972, tempera on panel, 28 in. (63.5  x 71.12 cm), 
Frozen Race, 1969, watercolor on paper, 20 1/4 x 29 1/4 in. (51.44 x 74.3 cm), 
Anchor Man, 1983, dry brush watercolor on paper, 17 x 34 in. (43.18 x 86.36 cm)
Firewood (Study for Groundhog Day), 1959, dry brush and watercolor on paper, 
14 x 22 in. (35.56 x 55.88 cm)
East Point Lighthouse, 1991, watercolor on paper, 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (49.53 x 69.85 cm)
Installation Photo Courtesy of Forum Gallery
© 2020 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

The works on view at the Forum Gallery demonstrate Wyeth's technical command and his ability to be a realistic and abstract painter at once. Throughout the exhibition there are sections of paintings which take viewers out of the realm of representation into a painterly, gestural sometimes calligraphic sphere.  Look at the specks, dabs and washes in the snow that covers about two-thirds of the watercolor East Point Lighthouse or the beige colorations in the snow in The Blonde Study or the scratches, smears and muddle of browns in the foreground of Untitled.  Spend time with areas of the ruffled bed covering in Winfields (first version of Heat Lightning) and the water of Surf.

Frozen Race is a painting of the Wyeths' early 18th-century mill which they purchased in 1958, restored and made into their primary residence.  In front is Nell, the Wyeths' much loved dog.  The dog is described in brown dabs of washes under which can be seen the dark sketched outline of its form.  A deep earth tone splotch on its face defines a shadow which creates the effect of having the dog seem to turn toward the viewer.  The mill's wall and sixteen panes of glass in the double hung window are a tour de force in making abstract markings metamorphose into a representation of solid structures. The painting gives the impression of emanating light from the areas illuminated by the sun.  Light falls on the foreground patches of snow, the dog's body, the upright post and, of special beauty, the remnants of snow on tree branches at the far left.  The last mentioned highlights sparkle and compare to the accents of light on the hair of Helga in the adjacent painting Letting Her Hair Down

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009) , Letting Her Hair Down, 1972,
tempera on panel, 25 x 28 in. (63.5 x 71.12 cm)
Private Collection
Photo:   Curaitor  Website

Helga is Helga Testoff (1933 or 1939 - ) who was married and also lived in Chadds Ford.  She was caring for Wyeth's old friend and model, the farmer Karl Kuerner when the artist began to use her as a model in secret.  Wyeth was in his early 50s and Helga in her 30s when they met. Their clandestine relationship lasted from 1971 till 1985.  During these 15 years Wyeth painted and drew some 240 depictions of her, many of which portrayed Helga in the nude.  No one outside of the two knew about these works, not even Wyeth's wife.  The Helga series were revealed in the mid-1980s and a traveling show followed in 1987 originating at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.**

Letting Her Hair Down may be one of the finest American portraits. Marvels include the light falling from the right window onto her flesh revealing the abundance of colors making up her skin tones, the luminescent strands of blond hair and her worker's hand with its unkept fingernails.  Wyeth's depiction with its tactile, three-dimensionality gives the figure its substance.

The show also has Wyeth's tempera Heat Lighting.  This painting along with the watercolors Winfields (first version of Heat Lightning) and Surf  present a nude female on her knees.  The figure is made up of Helga's body and the head of another model. As was Wyeth's custom, he would find a position of interest and explore it in a succession of works.  Also as his wont, he would combine Helga's body with the head of someone else - this was during the time his and Helga's relationship was covered up.  Sometimes he would turn Helga's body into that of a black female.  For Heat Lighting, he said he used the head of his friend Andy Davis' grandniece.  Andy Davis was part of Chadd Ford's African community.  Wyeth had longtime friends with some of its members and used them as models.  

View of exhibition Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades,
January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020, Forum Gallery, New York
l to r:  Jimmy's Porch (Study for the tempera "Drifting") 1991, 
pencil on paper, 
17 x 23  in. (43.18 x 58.42  cm)
Housebound Study, 1986, graphite on paper,
16 1/8 x 13 3/8 in. (40.96 x 33.97  cm)
Installation Photo Courtesy of Forum Gallery
© 2020 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

The exhibit includes two drawings which are a reminder of Wyeth's talent as a draftsman.  The motorcycle in Jimmy's Porch (Study for the tempera "Drifting") is as elegant as anything can be.  Catch the show!

*Andrew Wyeth – Temperas, Watercolors, Dry Brush, Drawings, 1938 – 1966.  Venues:  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 5 – November 27, 1966; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland December 11, 1966 – January 22, 1967; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York February 6 – April 12 1967; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois April 21 – June 4, 1967.

**American Drawings and Watercolors of the Twentieth Century: Andrew Wyeth, the Helga Pictures.  Venues:  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, May 24 – September 27, 1987; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 28, 1987–January 3, 1988;  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, January 31–April 10, 1988; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April 28–July 10, 1988; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, August 13–October 16, 1988; Detroit Institute of Arts, November 13, 1988–January 22, 1989.

Andrew Wyeth:  Five Decades
January 16, 2020 - February 22, 2020
Forum Gallery, New York
Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Holidays

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Making Of History Brick By Brick

Babylon's Ishtar Gate and Processional Way

Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion,
Neo-Babylonian Period (reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–562 BCE),
molded and glazed baked clay,
Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq
39.3 x  90.8 in. ((99.7 cm x 230.5 cm)
Lent by Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
Fletcher Fund, 1931: 31.13.2 CC0 1.0 
Image courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Kingdoms come and go.  Some are remembered although their great cities and monuments lie in ruin, often unrecognizable.  The exhibition, A Wonder to Behold:  Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate, at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) sheds light on the building practices, craftsmanship, religion and values of one ancient empire through a focus on the iconic edifice that defines it.  Over 100 objects are on display from 9 major US and European museums.

The city of Babylon was the capital and religious center of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626 - 539 B.C.). Under King Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 604 - 562 B.C.) this empire spread from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, encompassing what today is called Middle East - Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Southeastern Turkey and parts of Iran.  Nebuchadnezzar built lavishly in Babylon, adorning his capital with temples, palaces, gateways and thoroughfares.  His beautification sought to impress. The city became an emblem of his power.  Its archeological remains cover over 2000 acres.    

Installation view of Ishtar Gate Reconstruction in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany
Photographer:  Rictor Norton

It was Nebuchadnezzar who had the imposing Ishtar Gate and Processional Way built in Babylon about 575 B.C.  Actually there were three phases of construction.  It seems the King would remake structures as more advanced building and decorative techniques were developed. The Ishtar Gate was one of eight portals to the city.  It was the most important dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of war and sexual love. Originally, it was about 49 feet high and 32 feet wide.  The Processional Way, the corridor to the gate, has been estimated to be approximately 591 feet long; its walls on each side about 50 feet high; and, its width approximately 66 feet which could accommodate pedestrians and chariots.  

Part of the gate and a portion of the Processional Way have been reconstructed on a smaller scale in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany.  The 
Pergamon Museum is part of the Vorderasiatisches Museum collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.  Modern glazed bricks are used in more than 80% of the recreation.  In addition, an even more reduced version of the gate has been reproduced at the ruins of Babylon in Iraq. Although extensive  studies have been done, scholars are still uncertain about some aspects of the monuments such as the height levels of the processional animals decorating the walls or the crenellations capping top levels.  

There were occasional limited excavations at the Babylon site during the nineteenth century. Notably the British business agent, scholar, antiquarian and collector Claudius James Rich (1787 - 1821) sketched a plan of the ancient city in 1811 before its excavation.  He also dug up inscribed bricks and explored underground cavities.  Rich's findings were subsequently published and his work is considered the starting point of Mesopotamian archeology.  

Installation view of the exhibition A Wonder to Behold:  
Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate
November 6, 2019 - May 24, 2020 
Crate used to ship bricks back to Berlin,  1903 or 1927 CE,
wood, Babylon, Iraq, 
approximately H. 17.7 in. W. 33.5 in D. 18.9 in. (H. 45 cm W. 85 cm D. 48 cm)
Staatliche Museen zu BerlinVorderasiatisches Museum
Selection of brick fragments with mušhuššu-dragon scales, lion fur,
 floral motifs, cuneiform signs and background color,
Neo-Babylonian Period (probably reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–562 BCE),
glazed baked clay some molded, Babylon, Iraq
Staatliche Museen zu BerlinVorderasiatisches Museum
Photo:  Hillary Ganton

It took almost a century for a full-scale archeological examination of the area Rich identified.  From 1899 through 1914, the German archeologist Robert Koldewey (1855 - 1925) directed the  excavation with some 250 workers.  They unearthed walls, temples, various edifices, the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way and more. In ancient times, a
fter the city's edifices were no longer considered important, the monuments were taken apart. The bricks, which were of high quality, were stripped of their upper surface decoration and reused for other structures. Tens of thousands of glazed and molded brick fragments were left in mounds up to 66 feet high. These fragments were sent back to Germany in two shipments:  399 crates in 1903 and almost 400 crates in 1927.  

Photographer unknown, Sorting and collecting glazed brick fragments from Babylon
1930, reprinted 2019, silver gelatin print, Berlin, Germany

In Berlin the pieces were cleaned, sorted and reassembled.  It took decades. Conservators were helped by the drawings and watercolors of Walter Andrae (1875 - 1956), German archeologist and architect, who took part in the Babyon excavation under Koldeway.  

Walter Andrae (1875 - 1956), Reconstruction of bricks with a mušhuššu-dragon from the Ishtar Gate1902, watercolor and graphite on board, 46. 1 x  64.6 in. (117 x 164 cm)
Photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

Andrae visually documented approximate to scale what was seen in situ.  His depictions detailed the brick arrangements and colors of the decorative elements and animals.   

Walter Andrae (1875 - 1956), Partial reconstruction of the throne room façade from Nebuchadnezzar II’s Southern Palace showing fitters’ marks on bricks
1901, watercolor on paper,
12.4 in. x  27.8 in.  (31.6 x 70.6 cm)
Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Berlin: ArDOG V.28.18
© Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Archiv; 
Photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

Andrae also reproduced the signs that were found on the center and each end of the top side of the bricks.  He deciphered their meaning as fitters' marks indicating the brick's placement vertically and horizontally.  This discovery immensely aided the reconstruction of the Babylon monuments.  Visitors are able to compare the brick markings in Andrae's watercolors on view with fitters' marks on actual bricks in nearby vitrines. 

Clay, which was found everywhere, was the building material of choice. Wood and stone were not readily  available.  The Babylonians were expert brick makers and were well known for it.  The great King Darius I (r. 522 to 486 B.C.) of Persia wrote in a famous inscription, "the men who wrought the baked brick, those were Babylonians."  For the ancients, the Babylonian structures with their glazed bricks were considered a work of wonder.

A variety of clay bricks were made; they could be flat, molded, painted or glazed.  Fine textured clay mixed with water and strengthened with thinly cut up straw was pushed into standard square or rectangular molds to be sun dried and fired.  The exact methods used to make molded bricks with raised relief are not known since no molds survive. Scholars speculate that they used specialized wooden molds with a detachable fourth side.  The detachable side made removal of the brick easy without the possibility of injury to the relief.  The wood was likely sourced from Lebanon.

Fragmentary brick stamped with cuneiform inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II 
and impressed with a dog’s paw print
Neo-Babylonian Period (reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–562 BCE),
baked clay, H. 8.9 in. (22.5 cm); W. 11.0 in.(28 cm); D. 3.4 in. (8.5 cm),
Babylon, Iraq
Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Berlin: ArDOG V.28.18
© Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Archiv; 
Photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

For further understanding and information, there are six explanatory iPads in the exhibition, three in each gallery. One shows a series of 1976 photographs of brickmaking in Baghdad, Iraq which is still essential for modern Middle Eastern construction.  In ancient times, millions of bricks had been laid in the sun to dry. Dogs roamed the brick drying area attested to by paw marks left on bricks made by the animal stepping on the still wet clay.  A sample of this is in the show.  

The other iPads inform on glassmaking, material sources of the ancient Middle East, a virtual model of the ruins, other ancient Middle Eastern buildings with glazed and molded bricks and ancient royal and workers' brick inscriptions.  The last topic is particularly enlightening. 

Installation view of  (top) Brick stamped with cuneiform inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II with alphabetic workers' inscription (zbn')
Neo-Babylonian Period (reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604 - 502 BCE), 
baked clay, H. 16.1 in. (40.8 cm); W. 14.5 in. (36.8 cm); D. 4.3 in. (10.8 cm),  
probably Babylon, Iraq
British Museum, London: 1979.1220.64
(Bottom) Brick fragment incised with alphabetic workers' inscription (zbn')
Neo-Babylonian Period (reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604 - 502 BCE), 
baked clay, H. 3.2 in. (8 cm); W. 5.5 in. (14 cm); D. 4.1 in. (10.5 cm),  Babylon, Iraq 
Staatliche Museen zu BerlinVorderasiatisches Museum VA Bab 04553
at the exhibition  A Wonder to Behold:  Craftsmanship 
and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate,
 New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW)
Photo:  Hillary Ganton

Traditionally, rulers had bricks marked with cuneiform inscriptions which were stamped or incised.  These were commemorative messages such as the cuneiform stamp of Nebuchadnezzar II on bricks displayed in the exhibit.  One from the British Museum translates, "Nebuchandnezzar, King of Babylon, who cares for the Esagila and Ezida, eldest son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon." The King's cuneiform inscription with its wedge-shaped characters is in the Babylonian dialect of the Akkadian language, a semitic language spoken in ancient Mesopotamia.  On the same clay brick there is a name incised by hand in the Aramaic alphabetic system of writing. The Aramaic language was probably spoken by most workers during the period of the building of the gate.  The name may refer to an individual in charge of some part of the project such as the brickyards. Many alphabetic inscriptions of individuals are found on bricks. More research is needed to determine their function.

The exhibit makes clear that the portrayal of real and hybrid animals is of importance as the animals are meant to be seen as protectors. Examples are the mušhuššu-dragon with its snake's scaly body and forked tongue, front paws of a lion and back legs talons of a bird of prey or the open-mouthed lion with its mane extending along its body like a wing.  Each animal is associated with a specific god. Some 60 lions lined each side of the Processional Way facing the oncoming visitor to the city.  These were not experienced by the ancients as merely decorative but rather imagery that was endowed with spiritual force. They could connect the living to the divine.  The shine of the material, how the glaze reflected light, connected viewers to the supernatural. Under the bright Middle Eastern sun, the intense sparkle of monument walls could physically overcome beholders. The materials used were considered sacred as were the representations.  Those that worked on the structures were considered sacred too, as their knowledge and skills were described as coming from the gods. Clay was the substance of creation - gods made the first humans from clay. The vitreous substances like glass or glazes were as highly valued as precious or semi-precious stones or metals.  They were possibly ranked even higher because they underwent transformation.

Installation view of the exhibition A Wonder to Behold:  Craftsmanship 
and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate,
November 6, 2019 - May 24, 2020

This may be a difficult concept to grasp as we prize precious and semi-precious stones and certain metals over vitreous substances.  Glaze can visually look like lapis lazuli in color and luster.  The term "stone" for the ancients indicated natural and artificial materials.  Nebuchadnezzar II describes having the city walls' entrances "...artfully made with shining lapis lazuli baked bricks on which bulls and mušhuššu-dragons are created."  The blue glazed bricks is his reference to lapis lazuli. Copper, found in Iraq, can be used in glaze recipes for creating a blue resembling that very same stone. Lapis lazuli was not found in the Middle East, Afghanistan being the primary source at this time. In the ancients' mind, stone and glaze are conflated. When cures for illnesses are specified as something the sick should wear and what it should be made up of, man-made products were on par with that of precious stones and metals for the remedy.  An illustration of this, a reconstructed necklace, is in the show. 

The exhibition enlightens on many facets of archeological investigations and the ancient world of Neo-Babylonia.  Visitors will find much to discover and enjoy.

On a personal note:

For this writer, the show brings to mind the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822).

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half-sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
(First Published 1818)

A Wonder to Behold:
Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate
November 6, 2019 - May 24, 2020
15 East 84th Street, Manhattan
Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 11:00 am - 8:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays