What the Hellenistic?! This is special! Breathtaking, really.
Entitled Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World, the current exhibit in the Tisch Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art showcases exquisite finds from the ancient Greek city of Pergamon, now the city of Bergama in Turkey. Bookended in time by the conquests of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.) to the reign of Cleopatra (30 B.C.) the period, according to the Met’s description, was characterized by a “concentration of wealth and power in the Hellenistic kingdoms…(that) fostered an unparalleled burst of creativity in all of the arts.
I’ll say. The artifacts are a triumph of scope and scale – it would be worth the trip to New York just to gaze upon the thirteen-foot-tall statue of Athena – but equally gratifying is the way the entire collection is presented. Far from a dreary plod through endless musty museum rooms, this exhibit flows beautifully and is exquisitely lit. There are well over two hundred magnificent treasures to behold, ranging from sculpture to jewelry to glass. They represent a painstakingly curated international collection, the core of which is in safekeeping from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, currently closed for restoration.
The “face” of the exhibit is a “Fragmentary colossal marble head of a youth”. Achingly beautiful and timeless, it stands almost two feet tall:
A “Limestone metope with battle scene”:
Marble Dying Gaul on loan from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples:
Go. See. But hurry: the exhibit closes July 17. According to Carlos A. Picón, the curator in charge of the Greek and Roman Art department at the Met,“Once the (Pergamon) museum reopens, they won’t send one-third of its collection here. This won’t happen again.”