Peter and Pan
From Ancient Greece to Neverland
- 12 Jun 2019 - 11 Dec 2019
- Curator: Rachel Caine Kreinin, curator in-charge David Mevorah
- Designer: Michal Aldor
- Bella and Harry Wexner Gallery
The god Pan –part goat, part human – was a bizarre creature among a pantheon mostly humanoid in shape. God of wild shepherds and their flocks, as well as rustic music, his cheerful, lively, approachable character was perceived as the personification of nature itself which in the blink of an eye can turn treacherous and deadly. Over time, Pan came to symbolize humankind’s attraction to, and fear of, the uncontrollable character of nature, with its unbridled sexuality, aggression, and tranquility. This exhibition will present the curious metamorphosis undergone by the Greek god Pan into the character of Peter Pan, written in England by author James Mathew Barrie in 1902, and the social context in which this transformation occurred. Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw tremendous changes in all aspects of life, whether social, economic, cultural or ecological, as a result of the Industrial Revolution which swept through the country. Protest against the rise of industrialism and the veneration of material wealth brought about the reemergence of Pan and other deities of nature, as well as a rise in the cult of fairy lore, mysticism, and neo-paganism. It is within this context that Pan found his way back into the imagination of the people, appearing extensively in the art and literature of the time – and most famously, in Barrie's fascinating figure of Peter Pan, whose dark, even nightmarish side was much diluted in subsequent adaptations.
The exhibition will be supported through the loan of key archaeological artifacts – including ancient statues, reliefs, and frescos pertaining to the ancient god Pan – from leading institutions in Israel and worldwide, including the Louvre Museum, Paris and the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The exhibition will also include first and second-edition books by J.M. Barrie with original illustrations; and the original Walt Disney concept art drawing produced by Mary Blair on loan from the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
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