Rethinking Antioch Mosaics

  • Location: Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Dates: September 2022-ongoing

Museums and Society Director Jennifer Kingsley and Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art Kevin Tervala collaborated in summer 2022 to reinterpret the museum’s so-called Antioch mosaics. These mosaics date from the first through the sixth century. Archaeologists excavated and lifted them from Harbiye (Daphne) and Antakya (Antioch) during the 1930s, when French authorities governed the region. Several US museums sponsored the expeditions, including the BMA.

Among the new themes introduced are the circulation of materials and the exchange of artistic ideas across the ancient Mediterranean basin.

Read Professor Jennifer Stager’s discussion of the new approach on the Antioch Recovery Project blog:

The previous Fall Kingsley and Tervala taught a curatorial seminar that engaged Hopkins undergraduate students in researching the BMA’s collections of ancient art; discussing the Eurocentric history of displaying ancient art; and in analyzing distinctive curatorial traditions of interpreting Near Eastern, Iranian, Egyptian, Cypriot and Greco-Roman art. Based on that work students conceptualized new frameworks and thematic groupings for presenting ancient art from a more global perspective.

Future courses will focus on refining and implementing this more globalized approach to ancient art at the museum, in dialogue with the revamped interpretation of the mosaics.

An ancient mosaic featuring birds in rows hangs on a museum wall. The museum's introductory label appears to the right of the image.