The Living Dead

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The Living Dead: Ecclesiastes Through Art

Dr. Corinna Ricasoli, Curator

About the Exhibit

The book of Ecclesiastes, one of the books of the Old Testament, is thought by most to have been written around the third century BCE. Its influence has been enduring and far-reaching. Its sentiments are so universal that they remain relevant and thought provoking even today. What is the meaning of life? For what purpose do we exist?

In The Living Dead: Ecclesiastes Through Art, visitors were invited to explore the main themes from the book of Ecclesiastes through the visual aid of artworks spanning from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Featuring European masterpieces from many major museums and collections worldwide—among which the Galleria Borghese, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Uffizi, the Rijksmuseum, and the Vatican Apostolic Library—the exhibition invited guests to contemplate universal ideas.

Exhibition Details

November 18, 2017 - April 4, 2018
Past Exhibition

Located on Floor 5

Included with Admission

… a Baroque meditation on the theme of Ecclesiastes that pairs perfectly with — and matches the curatorial standards of — the Vermeer exhibition of the National Gallery of Art a short walk away.
The Washington Post

Related Reading

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, revised translation edited by Hal M. Helms and Robert J. Edmonson, Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2008. ISBN: 9781612612096

Eric S. Christianson, Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries, Malden: Blackwell Bible Commentaries, 2007. ISBN: 0631225293

Robert Rosin, Reformers, The Preacher and Skepticism: Luther, Brenz, Melanchthon and Ecclesiastes, Mainz: von Zabern, 1997. ISBN: 3805319800

Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays, translated and edited by Michael A. Screech, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991. ISBN: 0140446044

Pierroberto Scaramella, Alberto Tenenti, et al., Humana Fragilitas: The Themes of Death in Europe from the 13th Century to The 18th Century, Clusone: Ferrari editrice, 2002. ISBN: 8887489300

Sybille Ebert-Schifferer, Still Life: A History, New York: Abrams, 1999. ISBN: 0810941902

Alberto Tenenti, Il senso della morte e l’amore della vita del Rinascimento (Italia e Francia), Torino: Einaudi, 1989. ISBN: 88-06-11472-7

Jay Richard Judson and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart, Gerrit van Honthorst, 1592 – 1656, Doornspijk: Davaco, 1999. ISBN: 90-70288-06-0