Pergamon – Panorama of the ancient city

Posted September 2nd, 2011

Art History, Featured, Shows

In a unique collaboration with Asisi Visual Culture GmbH, the National
Museums’ Collection of Classical Antiquities proudly presents a major
exhibition dedicated to Pergamon. Spread over 4000 square metres in
both the Pergamonmuseum’s north wing and the three main architectural
rooms of its east wing, some 450 exhibits will be on view from the
Collection of Classical Antiquities, the bulk of which have never been
displayed before. In addition, a new monumental 360° panorama installed
in a specially constructed, temporary rotunda by the artist Yadegar Asisi
and his firm, Asisi Visual Culture, will transport visitors to the hill of the
acropolis in Pergamon in the year 129 AD.

Thanks to a sophisticated light installation, you can see the city by day and by night. A tapestry of sound that recreates life in the ancient city, interwoven with background music by the film composer Eric Babak, is guaranteed to make your journey through time back to the year 129 AD an unforgettable experience. The settlement’s reconstruction is based on all the research on the city gathered up to now and has been carried out in close collaboration with the Collection of Classical Antiquities’ own team of archaeologists and the German Archaeological Institute. As a result, the innovative 360° panorama forms a perfect symbiosis between art and science.

Measuring some 22 metres in height and 100 metres in length, the panorama depicts the imposing buildings on the slopes of the acropolis of Pergamon, as well as many of the statues featured in the exhibition, all in their original context. The panoramic view spectacularly recreates snapshots of day-to-day life, the labours and entertainments of the people, in short, life in general, as it goes on in the ancient city and the Mediterranean countryside surrounding it. You can now experience a festival honouring the god Dionysus, or accompany the emperor Hadrian on a visit to an ancient construction site. You have the chance to observe life being played out in the alleys, the lively bustle at the market or to take a look into the workshops of sculptors. Why not ascend the hill to the acropolis and steal a glance into the temple of Athena, with its famous library? Anything is possible now that you can get a taste of a whole day in Pergamon!

More information over here.

The excavations in Pergamon conducted by the Berlin museums were one
of the most successful endeavours ever undertaken in the history of
German classical scholarship. The most important find from these digs,
the altar reconstructed in the Pergamonmuseum, is now one of the most
famous exhibits on the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Museum
Island Berlin, attracting well over a million visitors from home and abroad
to the Pergamonmuseum. However, the imposing recreation of this
monument has somewhat overshadowed the remaining, far richer Berlin
collection of Pergamon finds. Many of the objects now assembled in the
exhibition that were originally brought to Berlin as a result of the division
of finds officially agreed to by the German and Ottoman Empires in the
late 19th century have never been shown in public before. The exhibition
will be enriched by an array of loaned artefacts from other museums, both
within Germany and from around the world.

Elaborate restoration work is being conducted in preparation for the show
so that the famous Hellenistic marble sculptures from Pergamon are once
again able to radiate in their full glory.
A wide variety of sculptures, mosaics, coins, ceramics and everyday
objects will form a vivid picture of life in the ancient city. The exhibits will
be presented in their original architectural and functional contexts and, as
far as possible, their use in antiquity explained. Scores of drawings,
paintings and archive material will provide an insight into the exciting
history of the exploration of the site. Room will also be given in examining
the impact that Pergamon art, and the Pergamon Altar in particular, had
on the fine arts and literature of the late 19th and early 20th century.
The exhibition is a core component of the research project entitled ‘Berlin
Sculpture Network – Contextualisation and Interpretation of Ancient
Sculpture’, financed by the Ministry of Education and Research, which
serves to disseminate initial research findings to a wide audience. The
scholarly analysis of the Pergamon sculptures, which aims to retrieve
information on the contexts in which the works were originally displayed,
is being performed within the research project’s framework. The findings
will be presented to a wide audience using the most modern IT and
computer simulation methods. A key role in this is played by the virtual
3D model of ancient Pergamon, devised in association with the German
Archaeological Institute, the department for illustrative design at BTU
Cottbus and Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB).

The exhibition will be complemented by a 360° panorama, measuring
some 24 metres in height and 100 metres in length, to be erected in the
Pergamonmuseum’s forecourt, which will create a vivid picture of ancient
Pergamon. The recreation of the city on a scale of 1:1 is based on all the
research on the city gathered up to now, as carried out in close
collaboration with the Collection of Classical Antiquities’ own team of
archaeologists and the German Archaeological Institute. A day and night
simulation, complete with sunrise and sunset, and a tapestry of sounds
recreate life in the ancient city in a spectacular and immediate way. Subtle
background music by film composer Eric Babak rounds off the journey
through time that takes visitors back to antiquity.

In creating the monumental panorama of ancient Pergamon, Asisi used
drawings from the digs to guide him, as well as photographs of the Berlin
finds and the very first Pergamon panorama by Kips and Koch (1886). In
2010, Asisi took photographs from the top of a 30 metre high temporary
tower of the topography of the acropolis hill and the surrounding country
at the site of the ruins in Bergama itself. In addition, he also took staged
photos with extras in ancient costumes. The panorama, which invites the
visitor to embark on a journey through time back to antiquity, was then
painstakingly assembled from all the material gathered using computers.