Majestic Repose: Classical Antiquity and Renaissance Sculpture at Connecticut's Slater Memorial Museum


The study of ancient Greek, Roman, and Renaissance sculpture is considered foundational to our understanding of most, if not all, of Western European art. Its expression in form, balance, and harmony—some would say, perfection—has inspired artists, architects, and writers through the ages, most notably, in the 18th- to 19th-century enlightenment, or “Neo-classical” period.

The collection was created in the late 19th century when America fostered a belief in a classical education. It is one of the three largest sculpture collections in the country and is considered by many to be the best of its kind. We will study particular works of art that all students of classical antiquity were required to learn, draw, and replicate, using them as inspiration for their own creative paintings and sculptures. Featured are the sculptures from the east pediment of the Parthenon in Athens, sculptures from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, the Pergamon Altar, Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory), portrait busts of Plato and Cicero, and Michelangelo’s Pieta and Moses.  In many cases, these plaster replicas now possess more details than the originals, given time and exposure to the elements. Our last of four sessions will take place at the Slater Museum itself, to view these remarkable and excellent plaster casts of original masterpieces.

Instructor: Rhea Higgins

Dates: Tuesdays – March 3, 10, and 17

           Saturday – March 21 Field Trip to Slater Museum

Location: The Wasch Center - 51 Lawn Ave, Middletown, CT 06459

Time: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Cost: $175

RHEA PADIS HIGGINS is an adjunct professor in the art history department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hartford. She taught at Wesleyan in Graduate Liberal Studies from 1986 to 2002. Her area of expertise is 19th-century European painting, with an emphasis on post-Impressionist artists.