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An exhibition on how the ancients adorned themselves June 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.

Softly gleaming in their plexiglas cases, the 50 pieces of ancient Greek and Roman gold jewelry from the distinguished Burton Y. Berry Collection at the Indiana University Art Museum are on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

greek_jewelry.jpg  This gold and enamel Heracles-Knot Clasp with Eros is from the late Classical-early Hellenistic period, 325-250 B.C.

The pieces include rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets and diadems. The collection showcases Fowler, Ind., native Burton Berry’s finds during his travels and diplomatic work in southeastern Europe and the Near East. Berry, who died in 1985, donated his pieces to IU.

In the ancient world of adornment, golden cherubim ride garnet dolphins; claw-footed sirens are represented in gold pendants; and filigreed earrings swing gently from earlobes. Cloisonnι, granulation and filigree techniques are manifest in the pieces, which date from 700 B.C. to 472 A.D. Despite their age, the pieces would not look out of place beside current baubles.

“They look very, very modern,” said Martin Krause, IMA curator of prints, drawings and photographs. “But modern jewelry really looks very ancient.” The pieces, Krause said, show an “obvious progression” from Hellenistic through Roman periods.

“A Golden Legacy” is curated by Adriana Calinescu, curator of ancient art at IU’s museum in Bloomington. The jewelry display is running in conjunction with the IMA’s September exhibit, “Roman Art From the Louvre.”

A Golden Legacy: Greek and Roman Jewelry from the Burton Y. Berry Collection, The Alliance Gallery, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Road. Through January 6. Free entrance. Information: (317) 923-1331, www.ima-art.org

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