Ancient Near Eastern, Mesopotamia (?). Problematic Head of Hammurabi, undetermined date. Quartz diorite, 13 1/2 x 7 x 9 12". Collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Treasures of Deceit
Archaeology and the Forger's Craft
January 30 - March 22, 1998
Main Gallery, second floor
Can you spot a forgery? This exhibition explores the challenging questions raised in determining whether a work of art is a genuine antiquity or a forgery. Featuring real, reworked, and forged antiquities, all from the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the exhibition examines this fascinating aspect of art history and archaeology. Gold and silver vessels and jewelry, marble, bronze and terra cotta sculpture from ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman civilizations are scrutinized by art historical and scientific methods to determine their age and authenticity. Viewers may examine pieces under ultraviolet light, through magnifying glasses, and in x-ray photographs to identify the details that have led the experts to their conclusions.
The exhibition was organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance. Funding for the presentation of the exhibition and its programming is made possible by the Bayly Art Museum Volunteer Board Endowment and the Arts Enhancement Fund at the University of Virginia.
Exhibition Lecture and Opening Reception
Fakes, Frauds and Scholars
by Dr. Robert Cohon, curator of ancient art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Friday, January 30, 5:30 pm, Campbell Hall 153, reception follows in the Museum
Is It or Isn't It?: Testing Treasures
An informal discussion with art historian-archaeologists, a conservator, and a scientist on identifying objects. Moderated by Suzanne Foley, museum curator, the panel includes Dr. Robert Cohon; Katharine A. Untch, conservator of objects, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and U.Va. professors Ralph Allen, Department of Chemistry, and Malcolm Bell III, McIntire Department of Art.
Saturday, January 31, 3 pm, in the Museum
Hiding Greek Silver
by Professor Malcolm Bell III, McIntire Department of Art
Wednesday, February 11, 5:30 pm, Campbell Hall 153
After examining the antiquities, children and their families can test treasures using scientific methods.
Sunday, February 22, 1 pm, in the Museum
Why Dig at Pompeii?
by Professor John J. Dobbins, McIntire Department of Art
Thursday, February 26, 5:30 pm, Campbell Hall 153