The Scandalous Lady Elgin and the Greek Marbles

ART 860.70

This course looks at the life and impact of Lady Elgin, who achieved the acquisition of ancient marble sculptures from the Acropolis of Athens.

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What you can learn.

  • Learn about Lady Elgin's life and contributions to the art world
  • Learn how her actions precipitated social change and improved women's rights
  • Learn how the Elgin Marbles would go on to influence Western art for decades to come

About this course:

Mary Hamilton Nesbit, the Scottish heiress who became Lady Elgin, lived through several periods of great change--the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the liberalization of English laws, and the reigns of several monarchs, culminating in a new era begun by Queen Victoria. This one-day course looks at the life and remarkable impact of Lady Elgin, who achieved what even Napoleon could not accomplish—the acquisition of ancient marble sculptures from the Acropolis of Athens. Debuting in the early 19th century, the Elgin marbles would go on to influence Western art for decades to come. From her negotiations with tyrants and politicians to her assertive personality that demanded control of her own life and body, Lady Elgin's actions precipitated the social change and women's rights that would improve the lives of her fellow Europeans and later the Western world.

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