The Kassel Collection of Antiquities provides an overview of the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean. About 800 exhibits on dis-play cover the time from the Bronze Age through the golden age of Ancient Greece to the Roman Empire, offering insights into the devel-opment of the arts in the various ancient cultures. They testify to the collecting passion of the Landgraves and tell of the reception of Classical antiquity at Kassel. The tour will take visitors from »Living Antiquity« via »Legacy of the Landgraves« to »250 years of the Collection of Antiquities«.
The core themes of the collection are the following: Romans, Greeks, Sculpture, Myth, and Archaeology.
Portrait heads and small articles of daily use tell of the everyday culture and life of the Romans. Exhibits from a variety of sites, such as the Kassel excavation on Samos, are on display in the Archaeology section. Vases illustrate everyday life in Ancient Greece: symposia, competitions, and theatre scenes are depicted as well as the Classical myths of gods and heroes.
Marble statues demonstrate the beauty of Classical sculpture; among them is the celebrated Kassel Apollo, the bestpreserved Roman copy of a lost Greek bronze statue.
Legacy of the Landgraves
The origins of the Collection of Antiquities go back to 1688, the year when Hessian troops brought finds from Athens back to Kassel. The monumental »Kassel Hercules« statue towering above the city, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, is an aspect of this early reception of Classical antiquity at Kassel too: Landgrave Carl made him the emblem of his hereditary claim to power.
A telescope provided as part of the exhibition allows a detailed study of the sculpture. Landgrave Wilhelm VIII, who is also renowned as the founder of the Kassel picture gallery, was interested in Classical antiquity as well: in 1756, he commissioned the purchase of six large bronze sculptures in Genoa. Initially displayed in the park of Karlsaue, they later became major attractions of the new Museum Fridericianum.
250 years of the Collection of Antiquities
In 2018, the permanent exhibition was supplemented by a section on the history of the collection itself, on display in the »Rome Room«. The section »250 Jahre Antikensammlung« is dedicated to the purchases made by Landgrave Friedrich II during his tour of Italy in 1777 in particular.
That same year their expert study was initiated by the »Altertümergesellschaft«; the Museum Fridericianum, a worldclass institution to the present day, was inaugurated in 1779. Indicative of the institution’s European status, too, is the bronze cast of the famous portrait bust of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) which became the model for every later replica and variant of the portrait.
The unique set of 33 corkbuilt models of ancient Roman buildings again provides a vivid illustration of Landgrave Friedrich II’s enthusiasm for Classical antiquity. It is on display in the basement. The models were built by Antonio Chichi in Rome. The huge replicas of the Colosseum and Pantheon are exhibited in the »Romsaal«.
A digital trip through time
The »Romsaal« also offers visitors the opportunity to take a digital trip through time to visit parts of the exhibition. An app installed on the tablets provided by the museum will take you back to the year 1777, to Landgrave Friedrich II of Hesse Kassel and his Italian art purchases. iPad and iPhone users (iOS 12 and later) can use their own devices in the exhibition.
The free app for iOS devices is availa-ble for download at the Apple App Store