The Myth of Troy in Poetry and Art
The Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, Switzerland (Basel Museum of Ancient Art and Ludwig Collection), the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, Germany, and the Art Centre Basel, Switzerland, jointly created an exhibition which focused for the first time on the myths and facts about the Greek poet-singer Homer and his two epics, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”, together with high-calibre works of art from the Bronze Age until today.
The major exhibition on Troy in Europe in 2001/2002 (‘Troy – Dream and Reality’) which attracted about 850,000 visitors and was widely hailed in the media, reawakened public interest in the poet who captivated his audience with the story of Troy: Homer. With his epics the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Odyssey’, this Greek poet-singer of the 8th century BC marked the beginning of Western literature. For this reason, Homer is considered to be one of the founding fathers of European culture.
The growing interest in cultural roots due to an increasingly multicultural environment has led in recent years to an overwhelming production of books, films, stage performances and radio/television reports on the topic of Homer. Separating fact and fiction, reality and legend, when it comes to Homer, has become difficult.
The exhibition aims to bring clarity to the subject. Drawing on the latest academic research on Homer, this exhibition will present, for the first time, in six sections: (1) Homer in his time; (2) Homer’s works as the culmination of a long tradition of oral poetry; (3) the great epics the ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ and (4, 5, 6) the popularity of these works over the centuries. Through a combination of didactic elements and superb original works of art from antiquity up to the present day, this comprehensive exhibition provided powerful insights into Homer, which, in their combination of intellectual and aesthetic persuasiveness, served as a firm foundation for further encounters with this great poet.
The exhibition will be structured in a multi-facetted and didactically informative manner by displaying high-ranking antique works of art (from the late Bronze Age to the time of Homer as well as from later eras), but also by later examples of reception (paintings, drawings, etc.) from the Renaissance to the 20th century, together with explanatory plates, audio examples and text excerpts (in Greek and the respective local language).
Basel (Switzerland), Antikenmuseum and Sammlung Ludwig (March 16, 2008 – August 17, 2008)
Mannheim (Germany), Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen (September 14, 2008 – January 18, 2009)
Curator: Prof. Dr. Joachim Latacz, Basel, Switzerland
Catalogue Editors: Prof. Dr. Joachim Latacz, Prof. Dr. Peter Blome, Prof. Dr. Alfred Wieczorek
The catalogue has been published by Hirmer Publishing, Munich 2008.