ARCE-DC: Egyptology Lectures in DC!

We're the Washington, DC chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt.

January 2012 Lecture

Our next lecture takes place on January 20 at 6:30 pm.

Our guest lecturer is Gary Vikan, Director, the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

Location:  Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

The topic: “Early Byzantine Pilgrimage Art”

 In this richly-illustrated lecture, based on his recent book Early Byzantine Pilgrimage Art (Dumbarton Oaks, 2010),  Dr. Gary Vikan will explore the portable artifacts of eastern Mediterranean pilgrimage from the fifth to the seventh century against the backdrop of contemporary pilgrims’ texts and the archaeology of the holy sites, including Egypt.  What did these early religious travelers take home with them and what did they leave behind?  Which among these “sacred souvenirs” and thank offerings bear images?  Where were they manufactured, what was their purpose, and how did their images play a role in realizing that purpose?

The talk will situate the miraculous world of the early Byzantine pilgrim within the context of late antique magic, and frame it against the backdrop of pre-Christian healing shrines.

Gary Vikan was named Director of the WaltersArt Museum in 1994 after serving as the museum’s Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Medieval Art since 1985. Before coming to the Walters, Dr. Vikan was Senior Associate for Byzantine Art Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. A native of Minnesota, he received his B.A. from Carleton College in 1967 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1976.

Dr. Vikan’s vision was the driving force behind the renovation of the Centre Street Building in 2001, and the contextual reinstallation there of the museum’s ancient, medieval, and 19th-century collections, as well as the contextual reinstallation, in 2005, of the museum’s Renaissance and Baroque collections in the Charles Street Building. During his tenure Dr. Vikan secured three major collections: the John and Berthe Ford Collection of the Arts of India, Nepal and Tibet; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Collection of South-East Asian Art, and the John Bourne Collection of the Arts of the Ancient Americas; since 1995, he has assembled at the Walters the finest collection of Ethiopian art outside of its native country. Under Dr. Vikan’s leadership the Walters has received Mellon Foundation challenge grants to endow six curatorial positions, two curatorial post-doctoral positions, and a conservation scientist. Two hallmarks of his directorship have been the change in the Walters’ name from “gallery” to “museum” in 2000 and, in 2006, the elimination of its general admission fee.

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