2,000-year-old mosaics restored at St. Pete Museum of Fine Arts

- On the grounds of The Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, history is being reborn.  Crews are restoring mosaics that date back to the years 100 to 300. 

Five mosaics were acquired by the museum in the mid-60s. But their history dates back much further.

The mosaics originally came from the ancient city of Antioch, now part of modern-day Turkey and Syria. 

"The ancient world was a colorful, vibrant place," said Dr. Michael Bennett. 

While the color has faded, it will soon be restored. The museum's Senior Curator of Early Western Art Dr. Michael Bennett works to bring them back to life. 

"They are permanent documents, kind of a lost art form in a way. You walked on them. They were very permanent," he said. 

The mosaics would have been used in rooms of ancient villas in Antioch 2,000 years ago. Each mosaic comes with its own title, including House of the Drinking Contest and House of the Evil Eye. 

"There is no expiration date on great art. Great art was great when it was made it'll always be great. It's our responsibility at the art museum to remind people of that. They have a lot in common with the ancient world," said Dr. Bennett. 

It's a project that comes with great responsibility. Many pieces of art like these are being destroyed throughout Turkey and Syria by Isis. 

"It's critical that we preserve these ancient treasures and demonstrate what the art museum is all about. The art museum is a safe haven, it's a place where our shared humanity is preserved for everyone," said Dr. Bennett. 

With a donation of $50 or more, guests will have the opportunity to attend a scheduled tour of the outdoor conservation lab with Dr. Michael Bennett. Tour dates are Friday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 24 at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

For more information visit http://mfastpete.org/antioch-reclaimed-ancient-mosaics-at-the-mfa/.

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