submitted by Arts Hub on 16.03.2012
Alexander the Great exhibition coming to Sydney
By ArtsHub Saturday, March 10, 2012
Photograph: The Macedonian queen's wreath, which Robin Lane Fox asserts is 'the single most beautiful object in gold on the planet'. Photo: Museum of the Royal Tombs
Alexander the Great: 2000 Years of Treasures will open at the Australian Museum in Sydney in November 2012. The exhibition is the largest collection from the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg to ever tour in Australia.
The exhibition includes over 400 objects, including world famous pieces such as the famous Gonzaga cameo, the black basalt statue of Cleopatra VII and the figure of Heracles fighting a lion.
"Alexander the Great created one of the largest empires of the ancient world by the time he was 30 years old, and remains one of history's most important figures.
"His accomplishments and influence on culture, religion and military strategy changed the world, and the exhibition will offer a unique and fascinating insight into those achievements.
"The exhibition will feature over 400 priceless objects, spanning more than 2000 years – many seen in Australia for the first time, and all exclusive to Sydney,” Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said.
The exhibition follows the Alexander the Great ‘myth’ through centuries of art and culture, featuring 17th century engravings and 18th and 19th century tapestries and decorative arts. Artefacts that tell the story of Alexander the Great’s life are also included, and his journey to the East is documented with objects from Egypt and Persia.
“Massive resources are involved in bringing this exhibition from St Petersburg to Sydney,” Director of the Australian Museum Frank Howarth said. “The artefacts will come in three shipments, each taking over three days to reach Sydney by air, with much of the road route overseen by police escort. There will be a total of 29 curators and conservators accompanying the exhibition to and from Australia – quite apart from our own team working on the project at the Australian Museum.”
The original exhibition opened in 2007 in St. Petersburg and was visited by over 200,000 people in 2010-2011. Ms. Chipchase said that Sydney is the perfect home for such an important, family-friendly exhibition, and that it will be a significant contribution to the 2012 NSW Events Calendar.
"Not only will Alexander the Great: 2000 Years of Treasures bring history to life for Sydneysiders but this 'only in Sydney' exhibition will attract visitors from around Australia and across the Asia Pacific region,” she said.
Alexander’s legacy has fascinated generations, the amazing tale of how he conquered the largest empire in history earning him the title of ‘The Great.’
“There are few heroes in the history of the world that have not been cast down in recent years. Alexander the Great has, so far, escaped such a fate and even Hollywood films tell his story with the admiration and reverence of authors of antiquity. Alexander’s conquests gave birth in East and West to an incredible synthesis of cultures and even of belief systems. This synthesis –Hellenistic culture – was marvelous in itself, but it was moreover that which laid the basis for the world’s further development, a development which led to Christian culture in its broadest sense and even to Islamic culture,” State Heritage Museum Director Dr Mikhail B. Piotrovskjy said.
" 'The Age of Alexander' was a century of political, philosophical and artistic creativity. Magnificent states, new towns and cities, brilliant thinkers, amazing artists. The Hermitage is proud of its collection of works with connections to Alexander. With this exhibition, the Hermitage demonstrates the potential of a museum that is not just large, not just universal, but encyclopaedic."
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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