Ancient Greece at the Royal Ontario Museum

In April of this year, I found myself in Toronto visiting a friend who was kind enough to take me to the Royal Ontario Museum. The museum is one of the largest I’ve yet been to and I’m pretty sure we didn’t even see half of it before our feet started throbbing, but of course the highlights for me were the Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean and the Gallery of Greece. The ROM, unusual among the museums I’ve visited recently, allows photography in most of its galleries, so I hope you will enjoy my very amateur photos of these priceless works of art.

This replica of the Mask of Agamemnon was accompanied by what I felt was a bizarrely short description, something like A copy of a mask found in a tomb in Mycenae. A visitor could read such a caption and walk away with no idea how famous the original is. I wonder if that’s happened to me with items I’m less familiar with?

A different view of the Classical Greece room pictured at the top of this post. We spent most of our afternoon at the museum surrounded by school groups, but by the time I reached this gallery they had gone, and so had almost everyone else. Being alone in a silent room with all of these objects that have survived thousands of years was a really powerful experience and definitely one of the highlights of my year.

I believe the statue in the foreground is thought to be Aphrodite. It seemed to me that almost all of the female statues in this gallery were thought to be Aphrodite …

A statue of Eros that had its wings removed and the resulting holes filled in. This is so poetic I can hardly believe it exists.

In the far background is an alcove of Dionysus statues.

A model of what the statue of Athena in the Parthenon might have looked like. Not too long after my Toronto trip I found a photo of the same model in a book at my university library, which was a small thrill.

A detailed model of the Acropolis below what one of the Parthenon friezes might have looked like when it was painted.

This small Minoan figure is for some reason on display in the Roman gallery. Its authenticity is in dispute and there’s a tablet set up beside the display case so visitors can read about it in some detail. There are also a number of articles about it on the ROM web site.

If you’re ever in Toronto, I really recommend paying the ROM a visit – you can see a huge number of items from throughout history for what I felt was a very reasonable price. (Visit before January and you can check out their special exhibit on Pompeii!) I definitely hope to visit again one day to check out all the galleries I missed!

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