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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

A Hairy Situation: Looking at the Style of Hair in Fine Art

  • Popular Powdered Wigs!

    Slide Notes

    Gallery 132

    We'll take a look around this gallery at a number of paintings featuring men with powdered wigs. Why was this style of hair popular and what sort of person would dress this way? What were these wigs made out of and how were they cared for? 

    Details

    Gilbert DeBlois

    late 1770s

    John Singleton Copley, American, 1738–1815

    Dimensions

    91.76 x 71.12 cm (36 1/8 x 28 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1990.300

    Collections
    Americas
    On View
    Lynch Gallery (Colonial Boston) - 132 More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Changing Styles in Greece and Rome

    Slide Notes

    Gallery 213

    We'll compare and contrast the changing trends in Greek and Roman hairstyles over time. How do these ancient sculptures use hair style to define the person pictured? Why did the styles and trends change or stay the same over different periods? What sort of class or part of society would these different people belong to? We'll make our way through this space and investigate all of the different iterations.

    Details

    Bust of an old man

    about 30 B.C.–A.D. 50

    Dimensions

    height x width (max.): 35.5 x 25 cm (14 x 19 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Marble, from Carrara in northwest Italy

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    1991.534

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Classical Roman Gallery - 213 More Info

    Augustus

    1st or 2nd century A.D.

    Dimensions

    Height: 43.3 cm (17 1/16 in.); length (of face): 20 cm (7 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Marble from the Greek island of Paros

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    99.344

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Classical Roman Gallery - 213 More Info

    Description

    One sees here a man with close-cropped hair and a cap-like ridge on his forehead. He has thin, slanted brows and close-set eyes. His face is thin, drawn, and bony with sagging jowls; but he has a stong chin with dimple. The underside of was bust shaved flat near the front as if at one point the bust was adapted for another use. Encrustation is present on the surface of the marble, especially over proper left side. There is an old gash on back of head, part of the nose is missing, and there is an old chip from the chin and edges of the bust. Scientific Analysis: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.115 / delta18O -1.661, Attribution - Carrara, Justification (Petrographic Analysis) - maximum grain size (0.9 mm).


    A marble bust with 18th century restorations; probably inserted into a full length draped statue. It perhaps was created for a private villa at Ariccia, near Rome, where it was found. This is a posthumous portrait of Augustus with many features that suggest that it dates to the late 30s or 40s A.D., although the rendering of the hair general expression are more suggestive of a second century date. The portrait is carved out of Lychnites marble from the Greek island of Paros, one of the most prestigious and expensive marbles in antiquity. This portrait of the Emperor Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14) shows curly locks of hair, no wrinkles, softened bone structure; these features indicate is an idealized image influenced by Greek statues of athletes and athletic gods. Scientific Analysis: University of South Florida Lab No. 8421: Isotope ratios - delta13C +4.8/ delta18O -3.7, Attribution - Paros 1, Marathi (Lychnites quarry). Justification - C and O isotopes, medium grain

    Multimedia

  • Confucian Scholar Sculpture

    Slide Notes

    Huntington Staircase 101.1

    We'll take a look at this Chinese sculpture and try to figure out what this person's hair style says about his character. Why might he have this particular look and what sort of personality does it lend him?

    Details

    Confucian scholar

    16th century

    Dimensions

    174 x 70 x 60 cm (68 1/2 x 27 9/16 x 23 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Cast brass with traces of gilt

    Classification

    Metalwork

    Accession Number

    42.395

    Collections
    Asia
    On View
    Huntington Staircase - 101.1 More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • George Segal, The Artist in his...

    Slide Notes

    Gallery 260

    We'll take a look at this sculpture by George Segal and try to figure out who this person may be. What sort of hairstyles might have been popular when this piece was made? What is the subject of the sculpture doing and why? 

    Details

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Egyptian Kings and Queens

    Slide Notes

    Gallery 207

    What type of people did this elegant sculpture picture? What sort of style did they have and how did this contribute to their character? Why would royalty have maintained a standard style over long periods of time and different rulers (similarly to some of the Roman pieces on the tour)? 

    Details

    King Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen

    2490–2472 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 142.2 x 57.1 x 55.2 cm, 676.8 kg (56 x 22 1/2 x 21 3/4 in., 1492.1 lb.) Block (Wooden skirts and two top): 53.3 x 180 x 179.7 cm (21 x 70 7/8 x 70 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Greywacke

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    11.1738

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    G.M. Lane Gallery (Egyptian Old Kingdom) - 207 More Info

    Description

    At twilight on January 10, 1910, a young boy beckoned George Reisner to the Menkaura Valley Temple. There, emerging from a robbers' pit into which they had been discarded were the tops of two heads, perfectly preserved and nearly life-size. This was the modern world's first glimpse of one of humankind's artistic masterworks, the statue of Menkaura and queen. The two figures stand side-by-side, gazing into eternity. He represents the epitome of kingship and the ideal human male form. She is the ideal female. He wears the nemes on his head, a long artificial beard, and a wraparound kilt with central tab, all of which identify him as king. In his hand he clasps what may be abbreviated forms of the symbols of his office. His high cheekbones, bulbous nose, slight furrows running diagonally from his nose to the corners of his mouth, and lower lip thrust out in a slight pout, may be seen on her as well, although her face has a feminine fleshiness, which his lacks. Traces of red paint remain on his face and black paint on her wig. His broad shoulders, taut torso, and muscular arms and legs, all modeled with subtlety and restraint, convey a latent strength. In contrast, her narrow shoulders and slim body, whose contours are apparent under her tight-fitting sheath dress, represent the Egyptian ideal of femininity. As is standard for sculptures of Egyptian men, his left foot is advanced, although all his weight remains on the right foot. Typically, Egyptian females are shown with both feet together, but here, the left foot is shown slightly forward. Although they stand together sharing a common base and back slab, and she embraces him, they remain aloof and share no emotion, either with the viewer or each other. Who is represented here? The base of the statue which is usually inscribed with the names and titles of the subject represented, was left unfinished and never received the final polish of most of the rest of the statue. Because it was found in Menkaura's Valley Temple and because it resembles other statues from the same findspot bearing his name, there is no doubt that the male figure is King Menkaura. Reisner suggested that the woman was Queen Kamerernebty II, the only of Menkaura's queens known by name. She, however, had only a mastaba tomb, while two unidentified queens of Menkaura had small pyramids. Others have suggested that she represents the goddess Hathor, although she exhibits no divine attributes. Because later kings are often shown with their mothers, still other scholars have suggested that the woman by Menkaura's side may be his mother. However, in private sculptures when a man and woman are shown together and their relationship is indicated, they are most often husband and wife. Because private sculpture is modeled after royal examples, this suggests that she is indeed one of Menkaura's queens, but ultimately, the name of the woman represented in this splendid sculpture may never be known.

    Multimedia

  • Masking Tape People: Pre-tour...

    Slide Notes

    Join us down in the Alfond Auditorium Lobby, from 1:10PM to 1:30PM to make some little masking tape and mixed-media sculptures of different people and hairstyles!

    Details

    Description

    Multimedia