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Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Collection of Classical Antiquities
4 May 2011
Today a colossal statue of Pharaoh Amenemhet II, which has had a commanding view over the Pergamon Museum's forecourt since 1996, was lifted by a giant crane onto a low loader and transported away. Weighing six tons, the statue has now entered the first stage of its journey to New York, where it will be restored and then go on display as a long-term loan in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The colossal statue belonging to the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection is one of the largest surviving original statues of an ancient Egyptian king held outside Egypt today. It has formed part of the Berlin collection since 1837, after being acquired from the Drovetti collection, along with several other artefacts. Bernardino Drovetti (1776-1852) was an Italian diplomat and collector of antiquities who, through the sale of his artefacts gathered in Egypt, was to have a lasting impact on the character of the Egyptian museums in Turin, Paris and Berlin. The giant statue was initially displayed in Schloss Monbijou, along with other large stone sarcophagi and sculptures acquired with it, before being finally unveiled to the public in 1850 in the Egyptian Courtyard of the Neues Museum. It was only moved from the Neues Museum to the Pergamon Museum's forecourt as recently as 1996.
Its removal marks the start of preparations for the forthcoming exhibition 'Pergamon. Panorama of the Ancient Metropolis'. The Pergamon Museum's major exhibition will run from 30 September 2011 until 30 September 2012 and will highlight the history, art and culture of the ancient city of Pergamon. The Pergamon Museum's forecourt is being cleared to make way for the erection of the 360 degree giant panorama that will be 25 metres high and 103 metres in length. By entering the panorama, visitors will be able to see Pergamon's impressive structures and many of the sculptures now on show in the exhibition as they originally stood on the slopes of the hill to the acropolis.
Irrespective of the forthcoming exhibition, a new temporary place for the statue had to be found to make room for renovations that are to commence shortly as part of the Museum Island Master Plan. Fortuitously enough for the National Museums in Berlin, the Metropolitan Museum of Art had appealed for a long-term loan and announced that it was willing to undertake the necessary restoration work. Following the completion of the restoration work, the colossal statute is due go on show in the entrance hall at the Met. The sculpture is expected back in Berlin by 2026 at the latest, where it will finally take its place in the Pergamon Museum's newly designed fourth wing.
Facts on the colossal statue:
Description: Colossal statue of Amenemhet II
Date: 1914-1879 BCE
Origin: Tanis (delta)
Weight: 6 tons
Dimensions: h: 314 cm; w: 110 cm; d: 215 cm
Acquired: 1837, purchased from Drovetti collection
Display history: 1837 Schloss Monbijou; from 1850 in Egyptian Courtyard, Neues Museum; since 1996 in forecourt of Pergamon Museum
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