The significant ancient Greek works of art traveled from the National Archaeological Museum (NAM) in Athens to the Melbourne Museum under the auspices of the Museums of Victoria and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
“The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through Ancient Greece exploring how the trade of ideas and goods influenced Greek culture, and in turn influenced the ancient world,” the Melbourne Museum says of the upcoming show.
Ancient Greeks as travelers
Designed as a themed exhibition, “Open Horizons—Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections” pays homage to the travelling habits of the Ancient Greeks.
“The Ancient Greeks were great travellers. They set their gaze across the sea early in their history. Living on a mountainous strip of land in southern Europe surrounded by islands, their strong maritime focus led to many contacts with distant and diverse peoples,” the NAM explains.
It is, therefore, in true ancient Greek spirit that the splendid antiquities crossed half the globe to Australia.
“Among the best sailors on the Mediterranean Sea, the Ancient Greeks exchanged goods and ideas; they sought new lands to live for a while or forever; and they expanded their power both peacefully and violently,” the lending museum said.
“These journeys opened their cultural horizons, influenced their religious beliefs and developed their artistic practices. These interactions with faraway people and places were critical to the formation of the ancient Greek civilization”, it was added.
Emblematic ancient Greek masterpieces in Australia
The “Open Horizons” exhibition covers a period of 4 millennia, from the Early Bronze Age to the Roman period, representing periods of economic and cultural trade between Greece and its neighbors.
Many of those exhibits, such as the impressive marble Sphinx depicting a female head with the body of a winged lion, have never before seen outside of the NAM.
A video posted on the Greek museum’s Facebook page shows the arrival of Antinous-Osiris, a statue of a Greek God of the Nile of monumental dimensions, to the Melbourne Museum.
“The imaginary thread that runs through the exhibition underlines the life-giving influence of other populations and civilizations on the Ancient Greek identity,” notes the NAM.
It adds that: “The exhibits illustrate the Greek trade diaspora and the war turbulences, the prosperous Greek colonies abroad and the foreign communities in the Greek mainland, the indigenous religious beliefs and the incorporation of new cult elements.”
An objective reading and evaluation of the past with the aim to invite the visitor to new paths of the mind, “Open Horizons” constitutes a penetration to the global cultural grand scheme of today; air transports, new technologies, and internet are the new communication channels around the world, promoting intellectual refreshment and cultural openness, rearrangements, and reformations.