Twelve museums to send ancient pieces to Berlin

Greece is currently organizing one of its biggest-ever loans of ancient artifacts, following the 57 art objects sent to Sydney in Australia. The loan, to include 113 objects from 12 archaeological museums around the country, are destined for the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin as part of the exhibition «Greek Classical Civilization,» from March 1, 2002 to June 2. Both originals and copies will be sent, including sculptures, vases, inscriptions and tombstones from the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Among the artifacts are a fragment of the Parthenon’s 16th metope, potsherds from the Ancient Agora, tools from Pheidias’ workshop and the bronze helmet of a Persian warrior. Twenty-four original objects will be sent by the National Archaeological Museum, 21 works from Ancient Olympia and 12 from Pella, Vergina and Dion. Other contributions include the Dresden Zeus from Iraklion Museum and a votive relief from the Delos Museum. The loan was controversial, since German demands extended to unique works like the ephebe of Marathon, and initially met with the refusal of the antiquities ephors. Of the 158 works Martin-Gropius-Bau officials asked for, 113 were agreed to. The selected objects were proposed by the ephorates themselves and approved by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS). Some KAS members dissented with the loan, feeling an exchange was in order; others were totally opposed, but many agreed that the exhibition would revive interest in classical art. The objects come from a total of 15 countries, with Germany in first place, followed by Greece. The exhibition will be divided into thematic sections such as public life, democracy, education, athletics and the fine arts.

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