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Thursdays, November 11 – December 9, 4 – 6pm


Child’s Coat with Ducks in Pearl Medallions, 700s. Probably Sogdia (present-day Uzbekistan). The Cleveland Museum of Art. Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1996.2.1

$220; members $198
(4 classes; no class on November 25)

Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?

About the Class

For millennia, people in search of luxury goods from far-flung civilizations depended on merchant caravans that traveled between Europe and Asia. These legendary trade routes, known collectively as the Silk Road, connected China to the Mediterranean via bustling urban centers such as Palmyra (Syria), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), and Chang’an (China). Supported by an insatiable appetite for expensive silk textiles, the exchange of art and ideas between these distant lands is evidence for a globalized ancient and medieval world. In this class, we’ll explore the visual cultures of the empires that rose and fell along this storied network.

More about online classes.


Kaelin Jewell

Jewell is a senior instructor in adult education at the Barnes. She holds a PhD in late Roman and early medieval art history from Temple University and has worked as a field archeologist. In addition to her work at the Barnes, Jewell is the art historian for an underwater archaeology project near Sicilian town of Marzamemi.