The ancient buildings of Greece remain a high tourist destination for people around the world. Dr. Katherine Schwab, associate professor of art history, has an idea why they remain popular. “For an overwhelming number of visitors, ascending the heights of the Acropolis to walk through the Propylaia and to walk around the Parthenon and Erechtheion with its renowned Caryatid Porch, is an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.
A new Acropolis Museum in Athens began to offer visitors more opportunities to learn about the Athenian Acropolis and its monuments when it officially opened to the public on June 21. The opening was especially momentous to Schwab who went to Athens for the opening celebrations by invitation from the Ministry of Culture. As a testament to Schwab’s devoted research, 26 of her drawings of the Parthenon east and north metopes have been included in the Parthenon Gallery as part of the permanent display. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege for my drawings to be requested,” she said.
Dr. Schwab has studied the Parthenon for many years and her on-going research can be traced back to her dissertation in which she compared the compositions on all sides of the temple to representations in Greek vase paintings. Over the past five years she received formal permission from the Ministry of Culture to study, draw, photograph, and measure the Parthenon east and north metopes. Permission was obtained by application through the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), of which Schwab is an alumna and a member of the Managing Committee.
The reaction of the public to the museum has been very positive. “Given the extraordinary numbers of visitors to the museum, 10,000 daily during the first weeks after the opening, it is difficult to gauge how many of these visitors see my drawings on an average visit, but it certainly gives the idea of peer review a new meaning!” said Schwab.
This fall, Fairfield University will have the opportunity to view Dr. Schwab’s work through an exhibit open from October 20 to November 6. “An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Photographs and Parthenon Drawings of Katherine Schwab” will be held in the Lukacs Gallery in the lower level of Loyola Hall.
Suzanne Chamlin, associate professor of studio art, said, “In the Parthenon Drawings we will see Dr. Schwab’s exquisite handling of graphite to produce subtle gradations of light and dark. Students will have the opportunity to see the Archaeologist, Art Historian, and Artist bound by the acts of perception — simultaneously deepening in her pursuit of research and study.”
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