Dionysos and the Symposium
Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece: Dionysos & Symposium Gallery (Gallery 215B)
This gallery is closed in anticipation of an ambitious and exciting transformation of the George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World. Scheduled to open in Fall 2021, five galleries on Level 2 of the Wing will provide visitors with a grand entry to the MFA’s renowned collection of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine art—one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. Many of the featured works are among the oldest in the collection, yet they will tell new stories, reflecting our time through the art of the past. With innovative new displays, visitors of all ages can understand the legacy of an ancient way of life and how it resonates today.

God of wine, intoxicated ecstasy, and theater: Dionysos was, for good reason, the most popular of all Greek gods. He gave the ancients the gift of wine and, in his role as god of the grape harvest and wine making, ensured a key economic industry for many Greek cities. His worship took the form of celebration; festivals in his honor, often held outdoors, featured recitations, song, and dance, which developed into theater as we know it today. This gallery transports visitors to an era in which guests reclined on couches at elite symposia and where the images on jars, cups, and mixing bowls might provide topics for conversation: the heroic past, the day’s theatrical life, and, of course, the gods—especially Dionysos, whose image and spirit pervaded drinking and merriment in all its forms.