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The Trojan War: The Epic in Art

Evening Program

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0359
Athenian youths portrayed on the Euphronios krater

One of the most famous epic narratives of classical mythology is that of the Trojan War, a decade-long conflict over possession of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Pitting Greeks against Trojans, the story of the war featured countless heroes, like Achilles and Odysseus, and was integral both to the psyche of the ancient Greeks, and the mythical foundations of the ancient Romans.

Art historian Renee Gondek recounts the story of the Trojan War, from the judgment of Paris and the abduction of Helen to the construction of the Trojan Horse and the sack of Troy. She explores and weaves together multiple (and sometimes conflicting) strands of evidence from many periods of antiquity.

In addition to narrating passages from ancient literary sources including Homer’s Iliad (ca. 750 BC) and Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca (ca. 100 AD), she illustrates the program with important artistic works, such as the famous Sarpedon Krater by Euphronios and the Laocoön Group in the Vatican Museums. Testifying to the importance of this legendary tale, with its timeless themes of beauty, courage, and sacrifice, Gondek also surveys later representations of the Trojan War, such as Peter Paul Rubens’ Judgment of Paris and Nicolas Poussin’s Achilles Discovered on Skyros.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)