(New York, July 13, 2016)—Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that two ancient marble sculptures from the famed collection of the Pergamon Museum (Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) will remain on loan to The Met for two years. The works are currently among the highlights of the exhibition Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (on view through July 17). After the exhibition closes, the two sculptures—a monumental statue of the goddess Athena and a fragmentary colossal head of a youth, both carved in the second century B.C.—will be displayed on the southern side of the Museum’s Great Hall and in The Robert and Renée Belfer Court, respectively. They will be on view from early August until fall 2018.
“Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World has been an extraordinary experience for our visitors, and we are thrilled that two breathtaking works of art from the exhibition will remain at The Met for another two years, thanks to the generosity of our colleagues at the Pergamon Museum,” Mr. Campbell said. “They will provide a stunning welcome to the Museum and to our Greek and Roman Galleries."
The Pergamon Museum is currently closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in 2019. The collection of classical antiquities of the Staatliche Museen can still be seen at the Altes and Neues museums, which remain open.
About the Two Hellenistic Sculptures
The impressive, 12-foot-tall, expertly carved colossal statue of Athena Parthenos originally stood in the Sanctuary of Athena—the goddess of knowledge and wisdom—in the ancient Hellenistic city of Pergamon (modern-day Bergama, Turkey). It is an adaptation of the famous 40-foot-tall, ivory and gold cult image of Athena by Pheidias that stood in the Parthenon in Athens.
The astonishingly realistic fragmentary marble head of a youth was originally part of a draped bust set in a marble roundel almost four feet in diameter. Representing a young god or perhaps Alexander the Great, and found on the upper terrace of the gymnasium at Pergamon, the work would have been one of a number of similar sculptures adorning the space. Because the bust was never exposed to the elements, the marble surface is remarkably fresh.
An Ancient Egyptian Statue Already on Loan from Berlin
Already on view on the north side of the Great Hall is a magnificent monumental ancient Egyptian statue dating to Dynasty 12 (ca. 1981–1802 B.C.). The imposing 10-foot-tall seated sculpture probably originally depicted the pharaoh Amenemhat II, but it was reworked and reinscribed by the rulers Ramesses II and Merneptah of Dynasty 19 (ca. 1290–1214 B.C.). It has been on long-term loan to The Met since August 2011 from Berlin’s renowned Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz and is expected to remain until 2021.
All three of these works on loan from Berlin are outstanding examples of the colossal statuary of antiquity, very few examples of which can be found in American museums.
Credits: Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Betsy and Edward Cohen/Areté Foundation.
Additional support provided by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, Renée Belfer, Diane Carol Brandt, Gilbert and Ildiko Butler, Mary and Michael Jaharis, and The Vlachos Family Fund.
It was supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
July 13, 2016
Images: (Top Left) Statue of Athena Parthenos. Greek, Hellenistic period, ca. 170 B.C.; copy of a mid-5th century B.C. chryselephantine cult statue of Athena Parthenos by Pheidias. Marble. Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (AvP VII 24). (Top Right) Fragmentary Colossal Head of a Youth. Greek, Hellenistic period, 2nd century B.C. Marble. Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (AvP VII 283). Images: © SMB / Antikensammlung.