Published: February 14, 2006
Coins and medals in the ancient world functioned in part as miniature works of art with great reach and power. Today, they provide much historical information that can be read and interpreted. An exhibition, “Heads and Tales: Portraits and Propaganda on Classical Coins,” is on view at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum through July 9.
The exhibition celebrates the recent acquisition of more than 900 ancient coins from two important numismatic collectors. Mark Salton’s gift of coins that depict Faustina and other female images in the ancient world was inspired by an earlier exhibition, “The Moon and the Stars: Afterlife of a Roman Empress.”
Nathan Whitman, a renowned professor of art history at the University of Michigan and Roman baroque specialist, described himself as having “imperial fantasies” and passionately accumulated his collection over many years.
On Thursday, March 2, William E. Metcalf, curator of coins and medals, Yale University Art Gallery; adjunct professor of classics, Yale University, will present a lecture at 4:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium. A reception will follow.
Since the coins arrived at the museum, staff and students have been working on further cataloging. Students had the rare opportunity to conduct primary research on original coins, which will be shared in the exhibition and they spent considerable time thinking about putting coins and other objects together in meaningful ways.
The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum is on Lower Lake Road. For information, mtholyoke.edu/go/artmuseum or 413-538-2245.
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