Ancient Greek Pottery on View in Kansas City

A selection of ancient Greek pottery from Joslyn’s distinguished collection is on loan to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, where it is displayed in the temporary installation Between Myth and Reality: Ancient Greek Vases from Joslyn Art Museum.

Where does myth stop and reality start? In the minds of ancient Greek people, myth and history were intertwined. They built their perception of the world on mythology (from the Greek word mythos for story-of-the-people, and logos for word or speech, so the spoken story of a people). Thus, to the people who owned and used these objects, the stories depicted on them had relevance in everyday life, as fantastical as they may seem to us today. Vase decoration provides us a view into their lives and values, but these scenes are not to be taken at face value. Often, they blur the boundaries between myth and life. This blurring offered the Greeks an opportunity to test the boundaries between men and women, human “reality” and the not-quite-human world of myth.

The nearly forty ancient Greek vases on display range from 850 to 300 B.C.E. Arranged by themes still recognizable to us today including love, drink and merriment, athletic competition and combat, and death and the afterlife, the objects and their stories show that even across centuries, mythology remained persistent in ancient Greek life.

Between Myth and Reality: Ancient Greek Vases from Joslyn Art Museum is on view at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, through April 29, 2024. #artoutandabout


Pictured Above:
Between Myth and Reality: Ancient Greek Vases from Joslyn Art Museum installation at The Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art. Media Services photographer Dana Anderson, courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.