Exhibitions are an important aspect of a curatorial department. The Ancient Art Department has organized and mounted over the years exhibitions showcasing art from different ancient cultures in the Mediterranean. Some of these exhibitions are also accompanied by scholarly catalogues written, edited, or with contributions by the curator in charge of Ancient Art and Interpretation, and published by the Publications Department. Exhibitions, like publications, fulfill the fundamental commitment of the Department to education, research, and scholarship.

Current Exhibitions

The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine

Date: Saturday, May 14, 2016 - Sunday, August 26, 2018
Location: Gallery 1, Legion of Honor

Ancient Egyptian mummies meet modern medicine in this hauntingly beautiful exhibition to highlight the complex cult of the dead in Egypt. Three coffins, two of which with their mummies, assemble in one gallery augmented with amulets, scarabs, sculpture, and tomb furnishings to facilitate the deceased in attaining and maintaining a happy afterlife.

The two mummies, Irethorrou and “Hatason,” have both undergone high-resolution, three-dimensional CT scans and the resulting data studied and interpreted to shed new insights into the two embalmed individuals: how they lived, died, and prepared for eternity. The pièce de résistance is an interactive virtual dissection table, which allows visitors to examine both mummies without “unwrapping” them.

The Ancient Art Department and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco would like to thank the following individuals and their institutions for their expertise, knowledge, unstinting help, and generosity:

Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium: Jonathan Elias
Anatomage: Jack Choi, Philip Mansour, and Kris Thomson
Stanford University School of Medicine: Rebecca Fahrig, Kerstin Müller, Lior Molvin
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley: for the loan of the model boat
RETNA: for his wall design

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Support was provided by the Ancient Art Council; Skot Jonz; Keesal Young & Logan; Mary N. Lannin; Elizabeth Moyer, PhD, and Michael Powanda, PhD; and Dr. and Mrs. Bernard von Bothmer in honor of Dietrich von Bothmer.

The exhibition is free after museum admission.

Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World

Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017 - Sunday, January 7, 2018
Location: Legion of Honor: Galleries B‒F

The exhibition reimagines how Classical sculptures might have been painted and appeared to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Based on close study of the originals and on scientific analyses and examination of the polychromatic paints found on them, the pigments have now been identified and reproduced on modern full-sized copies of the Greek and Roman originals. An array of these reconstructions will be on display next to Classical, Near Eastern, and Egyptian art from the Fine Arts Museums as well as ancient sculptures on loan from public and private California collections. The exhibition will also be complemented by an assemblage of watercolors of landscapes and ruins of Greece drawn by Edward Dodwell (1777 or 1778‒1832) and Simone Pomardi (ca. 1757‒1830) from 1805 to 1806, on loan from the Packard Humanities Institute.

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection, Frankfurt.

Presenting Sponsors
Barbro and Bernard Osher
Diane B. Wilsey

Curator's Circle
Packard Humanities Institute
Lisa Sardegna and David A. Carillo

Additional support is provided by Bernard and Jane von Bothmer in honor of Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer, and Elizabeth D. Moyer, PhD, and Michael C. Powanda, PhD.

Further contribution is graciously given by Keesal Young & Logan.

To purchase tickets to the exhibition: Click here.

The symposium, The Pervasiveness of Pigment in Antiquity, celebrates the opening of the exhibition, Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World, on Saturday, 28 October. The symposium is sponsored by Elizabeth D. Moyer, PhD, and Michael C. Powanda, PhD. For information and registration: Click here.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Original Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015 - Sunday, January 10, 2016
Original Date: Saturday, June 28, 2014 - Sunday, January 4, 2015
Original Date: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - Sunday, June 23, 2013
Original Date: Saturday, April 23, 2011 - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Original Date: Saturday, October 31, 2009 - Sunday, October 31, 2010
Original Date: Friday, June 26, 2009 - Sunday, March 28, 2010
Original Date: Saturday, October 18, 2008 - Sunday, January 18, 2009
Original Date: Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Sunday, August 10, 2008
Original Date: Saturday, October 15, 2005 - Sunday, February 5, 2006
Original Date: Saturday, August 10, 2002 - Sunday, November 3, 2002
Original Date: Friday, July 31, 1998 - Sunday, October 11, 1998
Original Date: Friday, April 25, 1997 - Saturday, August 23, 1997
Original Date: Saturday, May 4, 1996 - Sunday, September 8, 1996
Original Date: Friday, September 15, 1995 - Sunday, January 7, 1996
Original Date: Saturday, February 26, 1994 - Sunday, May 29, 1994
Original Date: Saturday, April 27, 1991 - Sunday, June 30, 1991
Original Date: Thursday, October 4, 1990 - Sunday, January 6, 1991
Original Date: Saturday, June 25, 1988 - Sunday, September 25, 1988
Original Date: Wednesday, November 27, 1985 - Sunday, March 9, 1986
Original Date: Friday, February 19, 1982 - Sunday, May 16, 1982
Original Date: Friday, February 19, 1982 - Sunday, May 16, 1982
Original Date: Monday, June 11, 1979 - Sunday, September 30, 1979
Original Date: Sunday, July 20, 1975 - Saturday, October 18, 1975