(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, May 11th, 2004.)
To answer the question that many of you will be asking, a pinacotheca
is "a place for the keeping and exhibition of pictures and other works of art"
(to quote the infallible OED
). The word appears in similar forms in German, Italian, and French--which is one of the reasons why we chose it as the name of our new online art museum.
That museum is still very much in the developmental stage, with representative works functioning as temporary "placeholders" for many artistic periods. Apart from the Antiquity collection, we can safely say that the best galleries (Titian, Rubens, etc.) are yet to come. But one of our goals in opening the Pinacotheca at this time is to give readers an idea of what the historical Helen of Troy may have looked like. And contemporary sculptures indicate that any woman whose beauty would have been renowned throughout the ancient world (as Helen's was) would have more closely resembled a plus-size model than a boyishly-thin, celluloid sylph.
Now that the magnificent Art Renewal Center (www.artrenewal.org) is online, one could argue that no other online art resource is necessary. And that may be true. However, we offer our Pinacotheca primarily as a supplement to the ARC. It will comprise a collection of images of timeless feminine beauty throughout the ages--images which may inspire modern audiences in many different ways.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, c.190 B.C.:
- The Judgment of Paris Pinacotheca