Facing History – Cultural History in Dialogue
Here you can see the most famous sculptures of Greek and Roman ancient times: the foam-born Aphrodite, the Trojan priest Laocoon wrestling with snakes, the beautiful Cleopatra, the mighty Augustus. The Collection of Classical Antiquities includes a total of 200 such sculptures. However, these are not the originals – they are plaster casts, some of which are copies of older works of art. The Collection of Classical Antiquities was created as early as 1806, when the city of Bern ordered the sculptures for drawing lessons. They weren’t fully appreciated until later, when their charm was recognized. The unique experience of standing face to face with the ancient gods and heroes is further enhanced by a small but impressive collection of original antiquities, which is also located here. The Collection of Classical Antiquities Bern serves as a teaching resource for seminars and student projects, in particular for the Mediterranean Archaeology section. By studying numerous plaster casts of important works from different cultural eras and regions, students learn to describe, date, and interpret works of art in their cultural contexts, through direct examination of the objects themselves. Students are also able to examine a selected collection of original antiquities, allowing them to gain experience with material-based study. In addition, the Collection of Classical Antiquities is very popular as a venue for drawing courses at various secondary schools and universities in Bern, and also as a venue for temporary special exhibitions.