Antiquity on Display: Regimes of the Authentic in Berlin's Pergamon Museum

Antiquity on Display: Regimes of the Authentic in Berlin's Pergamon Museum

Hardback Classical Presences

By (author) Can Bilsel


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 23mm | 662g
  • Publication date: 29 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199570558
  • ISBN 13: 9780199570553
  • Illustrations note: 99 in text illustrations and 8 colour plates

Product description

Reconstructing the lost monuments of Antiquity became, after 1800, a complement to Europe's colonial imagination. Countless archaeologists and architects travelled to the East, excavated extinct cities, and shipped their finds to Europe for display in imperial museums. Antiquity on Display is a critical biography of Berlin's Pergamon Museum and its popular architectural displays: the Great Altar of Pergamon, the Market Gate of Miletus, and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. In this volume, Bilsel argues that the museum has produced a modern decor, an iconic image, which has replaced the lost antique originals, rather than creating an explicitly hypothetical representation of Antiquity. Addressing the dilemmas raised by the continuing presence of these displays, which embody the distinctive traits of the artistic and ideological programs of the last two centuries, Bilsel questions what the process of reproduction and authentication of Antiquity in the museum tells us about our changing perceptions of historic monuments. Documenting the process through which these imaginative reproductions of architecture were conceived, staged, and came to be perceived as authentic monuments, this volume offers an insight into the history of Berlin's Museum Island and the shifting regimes of the authentic in museum displays from the nineteenth century to the present.

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Author information

Can Bilsel is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art, Architecture and Art History at the University of San Diego. He is also the founding director of the University of San Diego's Architecture Program.

Review quote

"Antiquity on Display is another fine addition to OUP's Classical Presences series and is highly recommended not just for scholars interested in the reception of antiquity in 18th- and 19th-century Germany, but, thanks to its accessible style, also for anyone planning to visit Berlin."--Lydia Tjapkes-Langerwerf, Classical Journal

Table of contents

LIST OF FIGURES ; LIST OF PLATES ; INTRODUCTION ; 1. No place like Greece: Berlin s Museum Island and architectures of history ; 2. Reconstructing Pergamon: Antique fragments and modern visions ; 3. Berlin s imperial museum: The problem of style ; 4. Reconstructing Babylon: The return of the archaic ; 5. Architecture in the Museum: Monuments for a Mass Spectacle ; EPILOGUE: REGIMES OF THE AUTHENTIC BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX