Nature Tamed and Framed: Reimagining Paradise in the Late Roman and Early Christian World
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Mosaic with peacock and grapevines. Roman, from Syria, 5th century AD. Stone. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Richard M. Beleson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1991.19
John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Theater
Presented by Dr. Nathan Dennis, assistant professor of Art History, Department of Art + Architecture, University of San Francisco
Gardens, both real and represented, played a central role in the development of Roman and Early Christian visions of paradise and how those visions could be expressed in the art and architecture of the Mediterranean world. This talk focuses on what paradise meant to these ancient viewers and patrons, and how the concept of the cultivated Roman garden would eventually be transformed into the iconography of the Garden of Eden, the landscape of a heavenly paradise, and even the Christian church (or in some cases, the Jewish synagogue) as a restored Eden—a paradise once lost but now regained through divine promise. This talk is presented in conjunction with the anticipated installation of two sixth-century mosaic panels at the Legion of Honor that once formed a larger scene of paradise inside an Early Christian church or chapel.
This lecture is free and open to the public after museum admission
An Ancient Art Council Lecture