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Figures from the Fire

Figures from the Fire


J. Pierpont Morgan’s Ancient Bronzes at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.


This beautiful publication presents a collection of exquisite ancient bronzes from the Wadsworth Atheneum that were collected by John Pierpont Morgan. It accompanies a special exhibition of the bronzes at Bowdoin College.

This fully illustrated catalogue presents highlights of the ancient bronzes that were collected by J. Pierpont Morgan and are currently in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum. Purchased between 1904 and 1916, the bronzes were given to the museum by Morgan’s son in 1917. Morgan was a passionate collector and spent years of his life acquiring exquisite works of art. He had a discerning eye and discriminating taste, and his driving motivation was to find works of quality and beauty. His Greek and Roman bronzes include a range of figure and vessel types: males and females, gods and mortals, humans and animals and hybrid mythological creatures, free-standing statuettes, and furniture embellishments. This is the first exhibition and publication to consider the bronzes as a group.

Morgan chose each work of art for its exquisite craftsmanship, its quality of composition and execution, and its preservation. These objects represent the very best of ancient Mediterranean bronze sculpture, with carefully rendered clothing, hair, and fur, and adorned with inlays of silver and other luxury materials. Showcasing different types of objects and figures that were made in bronze in the ancient world, this exhibition and book demonstrate the high level of quality that these works of art could achieve.


The bronzes are important not only for their provenance and place in America’s ‘Gilded Age’, but also as highly significant individual works of art that represent the best of ancient bronzeworking. New high-resolution photography of each work of art will allow readers to appreciate their intricate details of craftsmanship, including copper and silver inlay. This focused publication will also present current research on these exceptional objects to help readers better understand how they were made and what they represented in an ancient context.

  • Lisa Brody

    with contributions by James Higginbotham

    March 2023

    Paperback, 260 x 216 mm

    92 pages, 60 illustrations

    ISBN: 978-1-913645-40-3

  • Exhibition

    Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

    Opens 2 March 2023

  • About the authors

    Lisa Brody is Associate Curator of Ancient Art at the Yale University Art Gallery. A specialist in Greek and Roman art and archaeology, she is particularly interested in the interaction of cultures in the ancient world. James Higginbotham is Associate Professor of Classics on the Henry Johnson Professorship Fund, Curator for the Ancient Collection, and Chair of the Department of Classics at Bowdoin College.

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