Assistant Curator (Greek, Etruscan, Roman & Byzantine)
Area: World Cultures, Ancient Cultures
Exhibitions & Galleries: Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Byzantium
B.A., History, Loyola College, Montreal, 1974
B.A., Art History, McGill University, Montreal, 1976
M.A., Art History, University of Toronto, 1978
Paul Denis has worked at the ROM in the Greek and Roman section since 1981. Originally interested in Greek sculpture, during the last 20 years he has broadened his scope to include most aspects of Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Byzantine art and culture. Generally, his work focuses on the associated research and preparation of objects for permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions; the acquisition of artifacts for the collections; and fundraising for galleries, exhibitions and acquisitions.
Paul was the lead curator responsible for the development of the following permanent galleries: The A.G Leventis Gallery of Ancient Cyprus; Bronze Age Aegean and Geometric Greece Gallery (all 2005); the Eaton Gallery of Rome, the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Byzantium (all 2011). These galleries highlight pieces from Canada’s most important collection of Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Byzantine art. Collections of particular merit are: vases, marble sculpture and terracotta figurines; Roman marble portraits; and Byzantine decorative arts and mosaics.
Paul also curated such exhibitions as, Gift of the Gods: The Art of Wine Revelry (2001) and more recently Fakes and Forgeries: Past and Present (2010), an exhibition that examines the art of fakery, from works of art to fossils, and from counterfeit batteries to knockoff Dior purses.
Paul’s current research is focused on Pompeii. He is also researching the depiction of a wedding scene preserved on a fragmentary red-figure lebes gamikos (wedding vase) in the ROM’s Diniacopoulous Collection. The vase dates to about 425 BC and is attributed to the Washing Painter, an Attic vase painter who specialized in nuptial scenes. Another area of research is a recently acquired marble statuette of a late Archaic Greek Kore (Greek for maiden) dating to about 500-490 BC.
Like many other curators, Paul works closely with consulate and embassy staff, especially the Consulate Generals of Greece and Cyprus, on exhibitions and related cultural events.
Pilgrim tokens or “portable bits of divine energy” were made from the sanctified earth found at pilgrimage sites and stamped with sacred images.