In 2005, American art historian and archaeologist Katherine Schwab began experimenting with graphite and pastel pencil on paper to develop a new method of recording her observations of the Parthenon’s east and north metopes.
Through the process of drawing, Schwab addresses the persistence of war and ideological oppression from antiquity to the present. Though metopes of the Athenian Parthenon are illustrations of a mythological battle, they celebrated the Athenian victory in the recent war with the Persian Empire, equating the monster centaurs in the myth with the monster of the own time – the Persians. Several centuries later the metopes were deliberately damaged, scholars believe, by a fanatic Christian sect.
Schwab’s drawings arise from the intersection of artistic ability and archaeological expertise, offering new observations and discoveries that have contributed to our larger understanding of the east and north metope series. A tension emerges between what is preserved and what has been lost, creating a theme of presence within absence.
The drawings are divided into three sections. The first includes 16 pastel and graphite drawings of the east metopes which has the theme of the Olympian gods fighting the Earthborn giants. The second section shows 12 graphite drawings of the Sacking of Troy. Seven graphite drawings comprise the third section, which is devoted to a selection of figures from the Parthenon pediments and frieze.
The exhibition is organized by the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University, Creighton University (Omaha), and the Timken Museum of Art (San Diego).
The Parthenon is located at 2500 West End Ave. 615.742.7445.