Assyrian Reliefs

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
These twelve massive carved alabaster panels, on view together for the first time, dominate the walls of the Brooklyn Museum's Hagop Kevorkian Gallery of Ancient Middle Eastern Art. Originally brightly painted, they once adorned the vast palace of Ki... more
These twelve massive carved alabaster panels, on view together for the first time, dominate the walls of the Brooklyn Museum's Hagop Kevorkian Gallery of Ancient Middle Eastern Art. Originally brightly painted, they once adorned the vast palace of King Ashur-nasir-pal II (883–859 B.C.), one of the greatest rulers of ancient Assyria. Completed in 879 B.C. at the site of Kalhu (modern Nimrud, slightly north of what is now Baghdad, Iraq), the palace was decorated by skilled relief-carvers with these majestic images of kings, divinities, magical beings, and sacred trees. How the Reliefs Came to Brooklyn In 879 B.C., King Ashur-nasir-pal II celebrated the completion of his palace at Kalhu by hosting a banquet for 69,574 guests, but the glorious palace was soon abandoned and forgotten. In 1840, nearly three thousand years later, a young English diplomat named Austen Henry Layard noticed an unusually large mound while rafting down the Tigris River. He returned in 1845 to unearth the remains of the palace, sending his discoveries to the British Museum in London. He sent so many monumental sculptures and relief-decorated slabs that the museum sold some of them, including these twelve ... more
These twelve massive carved alabaster panels, on view together for the first time, dominate the walls of the Brooklyn Museum's Hagop Kevorkian Gallery of Ancient Middle Eastern Art. Originally brightly painted, they once adorned the vast palace of King Ashur-nasir-pal II (883–859 B.C.), one of the greatest rulers of ancient Assyria. Completed in 879 B.C. at the site of Kalhu (modern Nimrud, slightly north of what is now Baghdad, Iraq), the palace was decorated by skilled relief-carvers with these majestic images of kings, divinities, magical beings, and sacred trees.

How the Reliefs Came to Brooklyn

In 879 B.C., King Ashur-nasir-pal II celebrated the completion of his palace at Kalhu by hosting a banquet for 69,574 guests, but the glorious palace was soon abandoned and forgotten. In 1840, nearly three thousand years later, a young English diplomat named Austen Henry Layard noticed an unusually large mound while rafting down the Tigris River. He returned in 1845 to unearth the remains of the palace, sending his discoveries to the British Museum in London. He sent so many monumental sculptures and relief-decorated slabs that the museum sold some of them, including these twelve reliefs. In 1855, the expatriate American Henry Stevens purchased the reliefs and shipped them to Boston. Unable to raise funds for the reliefs there, he sold them to James Lenox for the New-York Historical Society. In 1937, the Society lent them to the Brooklyn Museum and in 1955, Hagop Kevorkian, the New York collector and dealer, donated the funds to purchase and install the reliefs in the renamed Hagop Kevorkian Gallery of Ancient Middle Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Other objects in the Brooklyn Museum's Ancient Near Eastern collection include works made by the Sumerians, Assyrians, Achaemenid Persians, Sabeans, and others. Art from this region served several purposes. Some objects, like the twelve reliefs installed along the walls of the Kevorkian gallery, were meant to impress and overpower viewers. Figures of gods, in both human and animal form, were worshiped in temples. A few objects, especially small animal sculptures, seem to have been made simply to be enjoyed and appreciated. Though each culture had its own artistic tradition, they frequently borrowed themes and styles from one another. Certain subjects became standard throughout the Near East and were repeated for centuries. For more than four thousand years, artists living in what are now Iran, Iraq, and Turkey fashioned images of supernatural beings combining human and animal characteristics, for example.

Drag the street view to look around 360°.
Use the arrow buttons to navigate down the street and around the neighborhood!

Assyrian Reliefs

Wed, May 25
10:00AM
$
Thu, May 26
10:00AM
$
Fri, May 27
10:00AM
$
Sat, May 28
11:00AM
$
Sun, May 29
11:00AM
$
Wed, June 01
10:00AM
$
Thu, June 02
10:00AM
$
Fri, June 03
10:00AM
$
Occurs 121 more times through Nov 19

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 638-5000

Schedule

May 25, Wednesday 10:00AM
May 26, Thursday 10:00AM
May 27, Friday 10:00AM
May 28, Saturday 11:00AM
See complete schedule

Category

Arts

Other Arts Events

Drawings & Prints Collections - Morgan Library & Museum

Ranging from preparatory studies and sketches to finished works of art, the near... view

New at the Morgan: Acquisitions Since 2004

Presenting over one hundred works that underscore the great scope of the Morgan'... view

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park World Premiere by Live Arts Global

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park – Sonja Kostich, Chief Executive and Artistic Officer – ... view

Hall of Oceanic Birds

This hall's dioramas represent the bird life of the far-flung islands of the Pac... view

 

Archives - Morgan Library & Museum

The Archives of The Morgan Library & Museum houses personal papers of Pierpont M... view

Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians

These halls showcase artifacts such as cooking utensils, clothing, weapons, and ... view

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park 2022 Summer and Fall Festivals

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park continues its mission to be a home for artists across di... view

Sea Lion Feeding & Presentation

Whether they're high-fiving their trainers, showing off their flips, or catching... view