CULTURE

Big moment for ancient Greece as antiquities are lent to Berlin exhibit

In an unprecedented move, Greece has agreed to lend a formidable 101 original antiquities from 13 archaeological museums around the country to Germany’s Martin Gropius Museum for a show on «The Classical Period of Ancient Greece – Idea or Reality» that opens today in Berlin and runs until June 2. The exhibition, which features over 600 first-rate exhibits from museums around the world, took three years to put together. It was organized by the Berlin State Museums and the Prussian Cultural Foundation, and is one of the activities being put forth by the program for promotion of the cultural heritage. The broad aim of the exhibition at the Martin Gropius Museum is to show the international influences of Classical Greek culture on the arts, methods of governance, philosophies and, in essence, the development of modern European culture. The exhibit is separated into eight sections: Athens and the World in the fifth Century BC; Politics and Public Life; Pictorial Themes and Forms; Measure, Measuring, Meticulousness and Size; City and Country: Production Contexts; The Canonization and Spread of the Classics in the fourth Century BC; The New Classics in the Roman Empire: Rome and Athens; and Renaissance and Classicism. The works on loan from Greece come mainly from the National Archaeological Museum and the museums of the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora. Among them, Germany’s museum-goers will be able to see architectural elements of the Acropolis, beautiful examples of ancient sculpture, pottery and Attic vase-painting, as well as objects relating to everyday life in ancient Greece. Also on display will be four models of the Acropolis in the fifth century BC, the Pnyx and the Dionysus Theater in the fourth century BC and the city of Athens in the second century BC, all of which were made specifically for this show on the Greek Ministry of Culture’s authorization. «This is the first time so many and such important works are being sent out from Greece,» said Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a press conference on Monday, adding that though pieces coming from Greece only account for one-sixth of the displays, «they are the ones that give the show its greatest scientific interest.» He also added that he has already organized for the exhibition to be displayed at Athens’s National Gallery in the future, as long as the other museums agree to lend their works. Further to the exhibition, the German government has agreed to return the sections of the Philippeion monument in Olympia that are currently in Germany’s possession. «This gesture will help counterbalance the issue of the Parthenon Marbles since it is also a part of the broader reconstruction project,» said Venizelos. Berlin and other German cities will also be hosting a number of other events, organized jointly by the Greek Culture Foundation and the Berlin State Museums along with other cultural events organizers, such as theaters, film festivals, exhibits and lectures.