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Age of Classics! Antiquity in pop culture

From February 22 to September 22, 2019

The heritage of Ancient Greece and Rome has had a lasting influence on the medieval and modern periods. The latter have absorbed, preserved, assimilated and transformed this heritage. In turn, the contemporary world and popular (pop) culture have appropriated classical models in order to give birth to new heroes and new forms of art in a globalized context.
Age of Classics brings together antique objects and productions made after the year 2000 and examines our relationship to the Greco-Roman world in various aspects of our daily lives: literature, comics, cinema and series, the visual arts, etc. How does Europe reinterpret its heritage? What is the connection between Greece, Rome and the United States of America? How and why does Asia explore Western history in its cultural productions? And in what ways has antiquity been perpetuated in the face of today’s evolving society?


Western Europe is the cradle of classical culture. Long perceived as the most illustrious period in our history, antiquity is particularly studied and taught, but also reinterpreted and distorted. It is not surprising therefore that the Greco-Roman heritage is omnipresent in contemporary artistic production. Artists reclaim these references by applying filters and transformations that often reflect their own concerns (ecology, gender, overconsumption, critiques of certain lifestyles, etc.). Ancient myths and symbols, common to all Europeans, are an endless source of inspiration for exploring the major political, economic and social issues of our time.


The United States of America has long drawn on ancient models to build its national identity. European settlers found in Greco-Roman culture powerful symbols to express the grandeur of their young republic and create new founding myths. Explicit references to Rome and Athens appear in the American Constitution or in the architecture of major public monuments. Latin is used in one of the country’s mottos: E pluribus unum (Out of many, one). Pop culture has also reappropriated elements of antique vocabulary: Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory lends her name to a world-famous sports brand; Superman, universal comic book and screen hero, can be considered a contemporary Hercules, an exemplary champion with valour and flaws alike.


Asia’s interest in European classical culture is growing. If the two continents were in contact very early on, especially during Alexander the Great’s conquest of India, the Far Eastern countries (China, Korea and Japan) developed their own antiquity, myths and gods. In theory, therefore, they do not need to draw on the Greco-Roman past to find powerful models or symbols. In the United States however, references to Western antiquity are not the result of a long tradition but rather of globalization, where images circulate and lead to more and more frequent hybridizations. The Greco-Roman heritage can thus be compared or likened to the culture of Asian countries in order to explore the similarities and differences between the two worlds. Greek and Roman characters regularly feature in manga, video games and contemporary artistic production.


> Full price: 8 € (with access to the permanent collection)
> Reduced price: 5 € (with access to the permanent collection) for students
> Free: for under-19s, Tourist Pass.

Schedules :
From February 22 to September 22, 2019
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on May 1st.

Age of Classics! Antiquity in pop culture

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