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Date & Time

Thursday, February 16, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017


Smart Museum of Art




Smart Museum of Art


Classicism, as an aesthetic ideal, is often associated with a conventional set of rules founded on supposedly timeless notions such as “order,” “reason,” and “decorum.”

As a result, it can be understood as rigid, outdated, or stodgy. But classicism is actually far from a stable concept—throughout history, it has given rise to more debate than consensus, and at times has been put to use for subversive ends.

Informed by an interdisciplinary planning process involving faculty members from across the University of Chicago, Classicisms explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal.

The exhibition traces the shifting parameters of classicism from antiquity to the early 20th century through nearly 60 objects in various media from the Smart Museum’s collection and other U.S. collections.

Larry F. Norman, Frank L. Sulzberger Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures, Theater and Performance Studies, Fundamentals, and the College, University of Chicago; and Anne Leonard, Curator and Associate Director of Academic Initiatives at the Smart Museum.

Support for this exhibition and its catalogue has been provided by the Smart Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago.

Presented in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Gallery

Image: Louis Dupré, Portrait of M. Fauvel, the French Consul, with View of the Acropolis, 1819, oil on canvas. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Woods, 1980.33.