An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab

September 13, 2014 - December 07, 2014
Boone and George-Ann Knox Gallery II

In 2005, Professor Katherine Schwab, professor of art history at Fairfield University, began experimenting with graphite and pastel on paper to develop a new method of recording her observations of the north and east sculpted metopes on the Parthenon, the most prominent temple on the Athenian Acropolis, in Greece. A “metope” (pronounced MEH-ta-pee) is a rectangular panel of the decorative frieze that extends above the columns of Doric Greek temples, and the ones on the Parthenon are particularly damaged and barely legible sculptures due to Christians’ deliberate defacement in the 6th century C.E.

Schwab’s drawings bring us intimately close to these sculptures and allow us to see anew their mythological narratives: the battle of Olympian gods and Giants, and the Trojan War including the dramatic sacking of Troy. A tension emerges between what is preserved and what has been lost. Combining artistic ability and archaeological expertise, Schwab’s drawings reveal new observations and discoveries of the most badly damaged and overlooked sculptures of the Parthenon. This exhibition is organized by the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University, Creighton University and the Timken Museum of Art.

In-House Curator

Laura Valeri, associate curator of European art


Mark Abbe, assistant professor of ancient art, Lamar Dodd School of Art


The W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art