The Lansdowne Bust of Athena of Velletri, Roman, 2nd century copy after a Greek original of c. 430-420 BC by Kresilas, LACMA

How does the display of an object affect our perception of it? When I first encountered this particular Bust of Athena of Velletri at LACMA, I was quite struck by how oddly accessible Athnea was and how ‘quaint’ the space it was displayed in.  What I was responding to was the placement of antique statues on shelves that were at eye-level, in a small gallery. I was so used to seeing artifacts from antiquity behind glass cases in vast spaces especially with high ceilings that it was quite refreshing to make eye contact with Athena without being totally overpowered by her monumental presence. Actually, the rooms where these types of artifacts were displayed by the ‘gentleman collectors’ from the 18th-19th centuries would probably be similar to this gallery at LACMA- the treasures from antiquity would be displayed next to 18th century paintings, complementing each other. 

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