There’s no life without music! Against the backdrop of our current situation and its effects on cultural life, the Antikensammlung’s special exhibition in the Altes Museum on music and dance in Ancient Greece seems particularly timely.
In Ancient Greece, music played a central role in all spheres of life, both public and private. We can only guess at what this music sounded like. But there are a wealth of visual sources that can tell us who played which instruments and in which settings – as well as telling us that there were often people dancing along. The depictions of these soundscapes are the focus of this exhibition.
By way of selected vase motifs, terracotta and bronze figures, along with a large-format statue of Apollo, the show will conjure a panorama of the contexts in which music accompanied daily life in Ancient Greece: both on the macro level, as part of religious rituals and cultic festivities, in theatres, musical contests, or even in battle; and on the micro level, in private settings, on festive, wine-fuelled evenings, at schools and in mortuary cults.
The show’s high-quality exhibits are drawn from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s own collections. Many of them had been lying dormant in storage, and are on display now for the very first time. The exhibits also include a reconstruction of an ancient cithara, which was fabricated specially for the exhibition. In the centre of the space, the exhibition architecture is reminiscent of a classical auditorium.
The media stations built into this architecture feature audio examples and a video demonstrating how the classical instruments and choral pieces were played or performed. They also offer a glimpse into the historical sources on which musical archaeologists have based their recent attempts to bring the music of antiquity back to life.
A German and English audio guide for adults and one made specially for children offer an immersive experience of both sections of the exhibition.
While the Antikensammlung looks into the information about life in Ancient Greece that can be gleaned from visual sources, the partner exhibition Soundscapes - Music in Ancient Egypt, organised by the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung and on display in the special exhibition space of the Neues Museum, focuses on the musical instruments of antiquity themselves. The Vorderasiatisches Museum and the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte have both made features in their permanent exhibitions of objects related to the theme of music.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a small, lavishly illustrated publication titled "Klangbilder: Musik im antiken Griechenland", retailing at 9.90 EUR, which can be purchased in the museum or through our Webshop (in german).
A special exhibition of the Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in the Altes Museum
Address / Getting there
Full access for persons with mobility impairment is possible via the service entrance (please ask for porter for assistance).
Until 17.8.2018, the building will only have one functioning lift, with an entrance width of 80cm.
S-Bahn: Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt
Tram: Am Kupfergraben, Hackescher Markt
Bus: Staatsoper, Lustgarte, Friedrichstraße
Low-carbon public transport connections
Sun 11:00 - 18:00
Tue 11:00 - 18:00
Wed 11:00 - 18:00
Thu 11:00 - 18:00
Fri 11:00 - 18:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00
Opening times on public holidays Opening hours
Prices / Tickets
10,00 EUR Concessions 5,00
Museum Island + Panorama
19,00 EUR Concessions 9,50
Annual Ticket from 25,00 EUR
Admission / Public health measures