Underworld: Imagining the Afterlife

31 October 2018–18 March 2019

Exhibition Overview


Attributed to the Lysippides Painter (Greek (Attic), active 530 - 510 B.C.), Bilingual amphora with Herakles and Kerberos, 515 - 510 B.C.

What did ancient Greeks believe would happen to them after they died? For most, the Underworld was bleak and somber, characterized by the absence of life’s pleasures, leading many individuals to seek ways to secure a more blessed afterlife. Organized around a monumental funerary vessel (krater) from Altamura, on loan from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and recently conserved by the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Antiquities Conservation department, Underworld: Imagining the Afterlife explores depictions of the Underworld in the art of ancient Greece and southern Italy.

(Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, courtesy of Hervé Lewandowski.)

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