Tells the story of Bavaria’s acquisition of ancient Greek sculptures that rivaled those acquired by England from the Parthenon.
The controversial removal of the Parthenon sculptures from Greece to England in the first decade of the nineteenth century by Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin, sparked an international competition for classical antiquities. This volume tells a lesser-known chapter of that story, concerning sculptures from the Temple of Aphaia on the Greek island of Aegina. Discovered in 1811 as the Parthenon project was nearing its completion, these ancient sculptures were acquired at auction by Johann Martin Wagner (1777–1858) on behalf of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria. The sculptures turned out to be significant in a number of ways, offering important evidence for a transitional period of Greek art between the archaic and classical eras, for the existence of an independent Aeginetan school that was the equal of Athenian art at the time, and for Greek sculptures having been elaborately painted and adorned.
Originally published in 1817 and presented here for the first time in English, this book reproduces the report commissioned by the crown prince that was written by Wagner and edited by F. W. J. Schelling and contained richly detailed descriptions of the sculptures. In addition, Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. provides a comprehensive historical introduction featuring a constellation of intellectual figures, an afterword, notes, appendices, and more than forty images to tell the fascinating story of the sculptures and their legacy from excavation to the present day.
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. holds the William M. Suttles Chair in Religious Studies and serves as Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Georgia State University. He is the author of many books, including Symposia: Plato, the Erotic, and Moral Value and Afterwords: Hellenism, Modernism, and the Myth of Decadence, both also published by SUNY Press; Classics at the Dawn of the Museum Era: The Life and Times of Antoine Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy (1755–1849); and Winckelmann and the Vatican's First Profane Museum.