Monday, April 19, 2010

Foraging in Firestone: Both a Library and an Art Museum

Now that I’m in the throes of working on my JP, I descend down to the basement of Firestone multiple times per week. Wandering around the library in search of books or a place to study, I’m often surprised by the amount of artwork on the walls of the library. On the C Floor, I discovered a series of prints from the Graphic Arts Collection. Each time I take the first staircase leading down from the first floor, I find myself face to face with this mosaic, which was constructed in 250 AD and was found in Antioch.

How did the University acquire a 1000 year-old mosaic from the Middle East? Between 1931-1939, the university participated in a dig in Antioch. This mosaic is part of a set that decorated the floor of a wealthy citizen. Although this mosaic is from 250 AD, the set of mosaics at the one house spans the first through the sixth century and provides a good example of the development of art from pagan times to the Byzantine Empire. The Antioch dig also contributed a large collection of coins to the Numismatic Collection.

There are other mosaics around campus from the Antioch. If you need a break from your end of the semester work, try going on a mosaic hunt. Somewhere else in Firestone, there’s a peacock on the wall. There’s also another geometric patterned mosaic outside another library on campus. Stumped? It’s above a cabinet to store food and drinks. The next time you have to leave something before going to this library, make sure to check out the mosaic.