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Olympus lecture: The Pergamon Altar

April 21, 2015 — 

Plan to attend a public lecture by Andreas Scholl,  director of the Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, to kick off the big Olympus exhibit that opens at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Sunday, Apr. 26. Scholl, who is in Winnipeg for the exhibit’s launch, will make a stop at the U of M to deliver a lecture entitled, “The Pergamon Altar: A Palace of Zeus with Homeric Traits?”

Imagine a sculpture 35.64 metres wide and 33.4 metres deep, with a front stairway almost 20 metres wide — the entire base consisting of a frieze depicting the struggle between Olympian gods and giant monsters, a battle known as the Gigantomachy. Today the reassembled panels of the Hellenistic masterpiece can be seen in Pergamon Museum, erected on Berlin’s Museum Island in 1930; the alter is the most famous item in the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities.

While the famous friezes of the Pergamon altar have been discussed repeatedly, archaeological study has engaged less with the building typology and the semantic tradition of the monument’s form. Scholl’s lecture aims to show that the development of the stoa with symmetrical projections and its application in Classical architecture, above all in the “stage palace” in the Greek theatre, offer new clues for an interpretation of an idea of the aula of Zeus on Mt. Olympos, an imagined palace already described by Homer and prefigured in myth for centuries.

The lecture is sponsored by the classics department, Faculty of Arts, and takes place Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 in 118 St. John’s College. Reception to follow.

 

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