Collecting Greek and Roman antiquities : remarkable individuals and acquisitions in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
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Plagens, Emily S.
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The United States of America is distant both geographically and chronologically from the classical culture of the Greek and Roman civilizations. For these reasons, classical antiquities were not widely available to the American public. In the era after the Civil War and in the early years of the twentieth century, however, American museums made huge strides toward acquiring classical collections of great significance. This thesis will recount the development of the classical collections of three major American museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. I will examine the major board members, directors, curators, and donors who led these museums to prominence, and identify key acquisitions that have been, and often still are, among the finest available. In particular I will show that the development of a major classical collection requires both wealthy, discerning donors and an educated, professional staff.
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