Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more
Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection

Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection

Von Bothmer, Dietrich, ed.
280 pages
295 illustrations
View More Publication Info

In almost no time, the New York collectors Shelby White and Leon Levy have assembled an impressive array of several hundred extraordinary examples of ancient art—and the collection is still growing. Their interests encompass most of the ancient world—the artifacts and treasures that have come down to us from historical periods and territories as diverse as the Neolithic era; the Ancient Near Eastern cultures in Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, and Bactria; the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans; and even the art of the nomadic tribes, such as the Franks and the Goths, which flourished in the early centuries A.D. One discovers rare marble sculptures of the fourth millennium B.C. from Anatolia or from Cyprus in the company of especially appealing marble harpists and reclining figures made in the Cyclades one thousand years later. A splendid assortment of Attic red- and -black figured vases—in a panoply of shapes—shares center stage with a gallery of life-like Roman marble portrait busts, many of which uncannily resemble people of our own acquaintance. There are bronze sculptures of virtually every size and description, ranging from diminutive figures from Syria or Iran to over-lifesize heroic Imperial statues from ancient Rome. Intricately fashioned metalwork, whether in the form of Roman fibulae or the third-century-B.C. Hellenistic gold tiara inlaid with enamel, presents the viewer with yet another aspect of the artistry of the ancients. In addition, the connoisseur will find such rarities as a fine group of belt ornaments produced in Central Asia from the third to the first century B.C. More than two hundred such treasures—a selection from the Shelby White and Leon Levy collection—fill the pages of this handsomely produced volume, which celebrates the first public exhibition of this collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Under the aegis of Dietrich von Bothmer, Distinguished Research Curator of Greek and Roman Art and the author of more than sixty of the catalogue entries, twenty leading scholars at the Metropolitan Museum or affiliated with other cultural institutions in the United States and abroad were commissioned to contribute texts on objects that fall within their own specialized areas of expertise. Their cogent, informative, and highly enlightening catalogue entries are accompanied by excellent photographs, many of which are reproduced in color. These reproductions, often of details or of an object in multiple views, provide greater clarity and increase the reader's understanding of the discussions in the texts. A glossary of terms and an index are also included for further elucidation.

View Citations

Bothmer, Dietrich von, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, eds. 1990. Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection ; [Published in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection”, Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 14, 1990 - January 27, 1991]. New York: Abrams.