Tamara Cohn Eskenazi

Posted in Ancient World, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations

Why the Cyrus Cylinder Matters Today

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Why is this small cylinder of baked clay so famous around the world? More»

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
      Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
      They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
      As with your shadow I with these did play.

      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      04/23/14

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