Dionysos and the Symposium
Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greece
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 Spring 2021, four 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.
Dionysos, god of wine, is the focus of this gallery, which introduces the production of wine and its significance in Greek culture and religion. The gallery explores the all-male drinking parties (symposia) held in his honor and highlights the activities that took place there—philosophical discourse, the performance of poetry and music, drinking games and erotic encounters. Also on display are many types of drinking and serving vessels used in symposia, which often featured images of Dionysos and his retinue.