A compelling exhibition exploring the theme of competition in the Ancient Greek world and featuring stunning objects from the British Museum’s collection, Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes has opened at the National Museum of Australia.
With Canberra as its only east coast venue, the Ancient Greeks exhibition features more than 170 objects from the British Museum’s collection of Greek treasures, with artefacts dating from 800 BCE to 200 CE.
“We are delighted to finally be able to bring this spectacular exhibition to Canberra,” said National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca. “Australians have endured months of lockdown and uncertainty, and we are thrilled to give them such a magnificent international exhibition experience after what has been one of the most difficult periods in our nation’s history.”
“The legacy of Ancient Greece endures in our society today, and visitors will be mesmerised by the stories of competition in the Ancient Greek world and by the beautiful depictions of athletes, the ceramics, sculptures, armour and jewellery on show.”
Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes is the fourth in a series of British Museum exhibitions that have featured at the National Museum of Australia, following Rome: City and Empire (2018), A History of the World in 100 Objects (2016) and Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum (2015).
“We at the British Museum are delighted that Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes has opened at the National Museum of Australia,” said Dr Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum.
“This wonderful exhibition is the result of tireless efforts and contributions made by staff at the National Museum of Australia, the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip, the T?maki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the British Museum.”
“The exhibition has been many years in the making and the British Museum is extraordinarily proud of this partnership. We hope that audiences in Canberra will enjoy and be inspired by the magnificent objects and stories woven throughout the Ancient Greeks exhibition.”
Artistic, physical and intellectual competition pervaded Ancient Greek society, which in turn influenced language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts around the world.
Key objects on display include iconic black and red figured ceramics featuring finely drawn depictions of athletes, gods and citizens; stunning marble and terracotta, statues and reliefs including many fine nudes; bronze figurines; weapons and armour; toys and games; fine gold jewellery; and coins.
“I am so pleased that the exhibition Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes is going to our partner museum in Canberra. Despite the worldwide pandemic and the immense challenges it has created, we have all worked together to achieve this momentous task,” said Dr Peter Higgs, British Museum acting keeper Greek collections.
“Following the pandemic, we seized the opportunity to develop collaborative new approaches to our international installation practices, all the while adhering to our tightest processes. A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved with this exhibition.”
“We hope you are able to go and see Ancient Greeks and immerse yourselves in the stimulating narratives and stunning ancient artefacts.”
Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes
National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Exhibition continues to to 1 May 2022
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.nma.gov.au for details.
Image: Frieze block from the tomb of King Mausolus, marble, Halikarnassos (modern Bodrum), Turkey, about 350 BCE, 215 cm. © The Trustees of the British Museum, 2021. All rights reserved