Berlin Travel Tip:
The Antikensammlung Berlin (Berlin antiquities collection) is one of the most important collections of classical art in the world, now held in the Altes Museum and Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. It contains thousands of ancient archaeological artefacts from the ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Cypriot civilizations. Its main attraction is the Pergamon Altar and Greek and Roman architectural elements from Priene, Magnesia, Baalbek and Falerii. In addition, the collection includes a large number of ancient sculptures, vases, terracottas, bronzes, sarcophagi, engraved gems and metalwork.
The collection's foundations were laid in the time of the Brandenburg Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I by ancient sculptures looted in 1656 from the Villa Regia Palace in Warsaw. The obtained sculptures were purchased in Italy by Polish kings Sigismund III Vasa and Władysław IV Vasa. This core of the collection, originally housed at the Berlin City Castle, was enlarged through acquisitions, including (among others) the acquisition of the collection of Gerrit Reynst in 1671. Acquisitions continued in 1698 when Friedrich III bought the important collection belonging to the Roman archaeologist Giovanni Pietro Bellori. After a longer interval, in which Friedrich Wilhelm I exchanged, among other things, 36 valuable statues for two dragoon regiments with Augustus II the Strong, followed in 1742 by Friedrich II's purchase of the collection of cardinal Melchior de Polignac, which included the well-known figure of the "girl playing a game of knucklebones". He acquired in 1747 the already famous bronze statue of the so called "praying boy", which was set up on the terrace of the Schloss Sanssouci until 1786. the collection was significantly expanded in 1758 through the inheritance of the Markgräfin von Ansbach-Bayreuth's collection, which included the "Nile mosaic" from Praeneste, and in 1764 through the purchase of Philipp von Stosch's antique gem collection.
The majority of the antiquities were scattered among the royal castles in the 1770s, or shown in a specially built ancient temple in Potsdam where they were not accessible to the public. 1797 saw the first thoughts of public access, with the plan to erect a public museum in Berlin to show off the most important pieces in the royal collections, among other things. A commission under the direction of Wilhelm von Humboldt was appointed to select the exhibits. At the same time as this new museum was coming into existence, further important purchases were made, for example in 1827 the collection of bronzes and vases belonging to the consul-general Bartholdy and in 1828 the collection of 1348 antique vases belonging to the general Franz Freiherr von Koller.
Tags: Antikensammlung Berlin, Berlin antiquities collection, Altes Museum, Pergamon, Berlin
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