The Spinario—a seated youth plucking a thorn from his foot—survives in a famous bronze now in Rome’s Capitoline Museum as well as numerous other ancient versions in diverse media. A popular genre figure created in the Hellenistic period (third to first centuries BC), it gained popularity in the Middles Ages and captivated Renaissance and later artists with its naturalistic pose. Originally an image with pastoral associations, the type came to have multiple associations: with the medieval calendar, with Christ’s passion, and even with the Temple in Jerusalem. This lecture explores the curious (and largely overlooked) appeal that the theme held for the patrons and artisans of the Middle Ages and examines the ways that medieval people engaged with the culture of antiquity, a period seen not as a distant past but part of their own rich cultural heritage.
About Programs at the Ancient Art Council
Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.
A Thorny Issue: The Reinvention of an Ancient Bronze in the Middles Ages
Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor
AAC members/free; General/suggested $5 donation