Since the Renaissance Court opened in 1933, it has served as a cultural meeting place for the City of Worcester and for Central New England, hosting myriad performances and concerts; festive celebrations and parties; and illuminating tours, demonstrations, and educational programs. The Renaissance Court is the gateway to the Museum's extensive Asian and European collections on view in the surrounding galleries and to the Chapter House. The centerpiece of the Court is The Hunt mosaic, an exquisite floor unearthed in 1936 during the excavation of the ancient city of Antioch.
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Wall at WAM
In 2013, artists Robert and Shana Parke-Harrison unveiled These Days of Maiuma, a 67-foot-long work of art installed on the wall overlooking the Renaissance Court. Created in direct response to The Hunt mosaic on the floor below it, the subject depicts figures and a grand feast superimposed on top of an image of the mosaic.
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, These Days of Maiuma, 2013, inkjet, 17 x 67 feet. Courtesy of the artists and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.
Now installed in the center of the Renaissance Court, The Hunt mosaic once covered the floor of a grand house in the ancient Roman city of Antioch, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 526 CE. At nearly 500 square feet, The Hunt is the largest Roman floor mosaic in North America. Its motifs tell stories of the glory and bravery associated with hunting among the Roman upper classes with vignettes visible at different angles as the viewer moves around it. Additional Roman floor mosaics depicting heroes and myths of ancient Rome hang on the surrounding walls.
WAM's collection of Antioch mosaics was excavated in the 1930s in collaboration with archaeologists and scholars from the Louvre, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Princeton University, and Harvard University. Many of the mosaics uncovered remained in modern-day Turkey, while others were acquired by educational institutions.