since 1 September 2012
Ancient Art and Renaissance Collections

On 1st September, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg opened its superb Ancient Art and Renaissance Collections in a completely new presentation. More than 900 objects will thus be on view to visitors again at long last. Following several years of renovation, the Renaissance department has been closed entirely since the spring of 2006, while the Ancient Art Collection was only partially accessible in the past two years. Following the Modern Collection, this is the second grand reopening taking place this year. In collaboration with the award-winning neumann schneider architects, a suspenseful circular route through the exhibition has been designed on the building’s ground floor. It highlights the displayed objects and juxtaposes them in new and interesting ways, while the exhibition’s architecture enhances the personal experience and consequently improves the understanding of the main themes. Striking room installations, carefully considered colour schemes and a new lighting concept all work together to bring to direct attention the themes which occupied the people of antiquity and the Renaissance, and continue to fascinate to this day. The Ancient Art Collection tells us about Egypt, the land of the pharaohs, about Coptic textiles, Homer’s heroes in myth and reality, the age of the Tyrannis, the development of a collective identity, the enigmatic Etruscan people and the Roman Empire. Arranged chronologically and according to cultural regions, the new permanent exhibition also sheds light on cultural-anthropological aspects and makes connections with other cultures and epochs featured in the MKG collections. The Renaissance Collection was reopened in the direct vicinity of the Ancient Art Department. The new presentation thus accounts for the great importance assigned by the Renaissance people to the aesthetic ideals and values of antiquity – as is reflected not only in many of the artworks on view, but also already in the epoch’s name, which refers to the “rebirth” of antiquity. With rooms devoted to such themes as “Gods, Myths and Grotesques”, “ A New World”, “ Curiosity Cabinet – Collection of Wonders”; “Images of Man” and “Flourishing Cities”, the new permanent exhibition conveys the chief distinguishing features of Renaissance art and cultural history as well as its antique influences.

The new installation of the Ancient Art and Renaissance Collections is being made possible by funds from the Culture Department of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as well as the generous support of our hall patrons: Campe’sche Historische Kunststiftung, Georg W. Claussen, Justus Brinckmann Gesellschaft, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius.

Abb.: Raumansicht "Ägypten. Land der Pharaonen", im Vordergrund Statuette des Gottes Osiris, späteres 7. Jh. v. Chr., Aphrati/Kreta, Bronze, H 45,5 cm, Foto: Dennis Conrad