NEW YORK – The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Middle East runs through June 23 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, (1000 5th Avenue in Manhattan) and features some remarkable works of art as well as a great deal of Greek influence.
Those familiar with ancient Greek art will see the influence clearly while Greek writing on many of the artifacts shows how far-reaching that influence was in terms of art, architecture, and culture. The blend of styles from the varied cultures represented makes for a truly unique artistic aesthetic and experience in this exhbition.
For over three centuries, the territories and trading networks of the Middle East were contested between the Roman and Parthian Empires (ca. 100 B.C.–A.D. 250), yet across the region life was not defined by these two superpowers alone. Local cultural and religious traditions flourished, and sculptures, wall paintings, jewelry, and other objects reveal how ancient identities were expressed through art.
Featuring 190 works from museums in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, this exhibition follows a journey along the great incense and silk routes that connected cities in southwestern Arabia, Nabataea, Judaea, Syria, and Mesopotamia, making the region a center of global trade. Several of the archaeological sites featured, including Palmyra, Dura-Europos, and Hatra, have been damaged in recent years by deliberate destruction and looting, and the exhibition also examines these events and responses to them.
A video presentation with scholars and experts highlights the incredible loss in recent years of some world treasures and also examines whether restoration and rebuilding efforts are feasible in these times.
More information about the exhibition is available online: metmuseum.org.