By Gabby J. (UE2, 6th grade)
After studying Ancient Greece and Rome for several months the Upper Elementary classes visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to culminate our studies.
The first exhibit we went to was Ancient Greek art. The exhibit consisted of many jars, vases, and armor. First, we examined one of the few statues in the exhibit. It was a statue of a sphinx, with a missing head. A sphinx is a combination of a lion’s body, eagle’s wings and a woman’s head.
The next artifact we saw was a jar that the Ancient Greeks would carry water in. The jar would be filled with water and would be carried on their heads and backs. The jar was painted with a scene of the dragging of Hektor.
We also looked at armor from the Greek armies. All Greek armies were volunteer armies. We saw a shield made out of pure bronze that weighed 40 lbs. Imagine having to carry that while fighting! We saw helmets that were also made out of pure bronze. They were a piece of metal in the shape of a head with small eyeholes. They did not look like they would be protective, but National Geographic made exact replicas of them and tested them, and… guess what? They were actually extremely protective, except for the fact that they did not have ear holes and only had very small eyeholes. We also saw bronze shin guards and arrowheads.
Next, we visited the Ancient Roman art exhibit which consisted of mostly statues. Many of the statues were replicas of Ancient Greek statues, including a replica of a statue of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice, and skill. The statue and her armor was full of detail. Her breastplate had Medusa’s head on it to scare off enemies. The original Greek statue was in the Parthenon and was a 40 ft. wooden statue, covered in gold. The one we saw was much smaller and made out of stone.
Next, we saw a gigantic mosaic. It took up most of the floor in a room. This mosaic would have been used outside as a patio. The tessarae (small pieces that make up a mosaic) were colored glass. The design had people riding fish on it, and in Ancient Rome, fish were considered “for the wealthy.”
We also saw a statue of Herakles as a baby, being strangled by snakes. Above us was a mural on the ceiling of Herakles cutting off the heads of The Hydra of Lerna as one of his 12 labors. The next mural we viewed was of Perseus slaying Medusa.
The last thing we looked at was a mural that included Athena, people that represented architecture, painting, and sculpture, and Kronos, the Titan god of time. Athena is protecting the arts from Kronos, like the MFA protects art from the bad effects of time.
We had a wonderful time at the MFA and enjoyed learning about Ancient Greek and Roman art.