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

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

Vesta
Mythic, worshipped in ancient Rome, circa 753 B.C.–A.D. 476

Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth and women. Her temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome was attended by the Vestal Virgins, women who took a thirty-year vow of celibacy and service to the goddess. Temples dedicated to Vesta each held a sacred flame, symbolizing the hearth and family, that was never extinguished. The two most important times of the year for Vestal Virgins and devotees were March 1, when the flame was renewed in a ritual performance, and the Vestalia, a week-long festival in June during which the temple was opened for women to offer sacrifices.

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