Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Olympia

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Olympia
b. 360/365, Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), date unknown; d. circa 410, Nicomedia (modern-day Izmit, Turkey)

The correct spelling of this name is OLYMPIAS.

Born into a wealthy family of Constantinople and widowed at a young age, Olympias refused all offers of marriage and devoted herself to charitable works and a religious life. She was consecrated a deaconess and, in 391, established a community of nuns. John Chrysostom, the archbishop of Constantinople and a voice for the poor and oppressed, became her spiritual guide and mentor. With her vast wealth, she founded a hospital and orphanage, among many other institutions in and outside of Constantinople. Her staunch support of Chrysostom after he was expelled by Empress Eudoxia in 404, and refusal to recognize the new archbishop, ended her career. The last years of her life were spent in exile in Nicomedia. She was canonized around 440.

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