Museum of Antiquities of the University of Leipzig
The Museum of Antiquities of the University of Leipzig is a collection of antiques
Antiquities, nearly always used in the plural in this sense, is a term for objects from Antiquity, especially the civilizations of the Mediterranean: the Classical antiquity of Greece and Rome, Ancient Egypt and the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures...

 in Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...



The foundations of the collection were laid in the first half of the 18th century, with the first acquisitions of antiques by the University
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

. As early as 1735, Johann Friedrich Christ, archaeologist and professor of poetry, used antiques from his ownership in lectures. In the early 19th century the antiques collection acquired the title "Archaeology and Art Cabinet". While the emphasis of the collection was originally on antique coins, gems and plaster cast
Plaster cast
A plaster cast is a copy made in plaster of another 3-dimensional form. The original from which the cast is taken may be a sculpture, building, a face, a fossil or other remains such as fresh or fossilised footprints – particularly in palaeontology .Sometimes a...

s, this changed with the arrival of 50 Greek
Pottery of Ancient Greece
As the result of its relative durability, pottery is a large part of the archaeological record of Ancient Greece, and because there is so much of it it has exerted a disproportionately large influence on our understanding of Greek society...

 and Etruscan
Etruscan art
Etruscan art was the form of figurative art produced by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy between the 9th and 2nd centuries BC. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta and cast bronze, wall-painting and metalworking .-History:The origins of...

The vase is an open container, often used to hold cut flowers. It can be made from a number of materials including ceramics and glass. The vase is often decorated and thus used to extend the beauty of its contents....

s in Leipzig, courtesy of Eduard Gerhard
Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard Gerhard
Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard Gerhard was a German archaeologist. He was co-founder and secretary of the first international archaeological society.-Biography:Gerhard was born at Posen, and was educated at Breslau and Berlin...

. In the same year the collection was further expanded with antiques purchased by one W. G. Becker during a tour of Italy. Numerous oil lamp
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

s, terracottas and rare sculptures were further acquired over the following years.

In the second half of the 19th century, under the leadership of Johannes Overbeck
Johannes Overbeck
Johannes Adolph Overbeck was a German archaeologist and art historian.-Biography:Overbeck was born in Antwerp. He was son-in-law to zoologist Georg August Goldfuss , and was father-in-law to anthropologist Emil Ludwig Schmidt . His uncle was famed painter Friedrich Overbeck .In 1848 Overbeck...

, new additions were mostly restricted to plaster casts. Original objects did not begin to be acquired again in significant numbers until 1897, with the purchase of Friedrich Hauser
Friedrich Hauser
Friedrich Hauser was a German classical archaeologist and art historian. His most famous single publication is Die Neuattischen Reliefs in which he identified a style-category he called "Neo-Attic" among sculpture that was being produced in later Hellenistic circles during the last century or so...

's collection, containing important antique items. In the first decade of the 20th century, under Franz Studniczka
Franz Studniczka
Franz Studniczka was a German professor of classical archaeology born in Jasło, Galicia.He studied classical archaeology in Vienna as a pupil of Otto Benndorf . In 1887 he received his habilitation in Vienna, and in 1889 became a professor at the University of Freiburg...

, the collection grew again with around 300 valuable exhibits endowed by Edward Perry Warren
Edward Perry Warren
Edward Perry Warren , known as Ned Warren, was an American art collector and the author of works proposing an idealized view of homosexual relationships.-Biography:...

 and John Marshall
John Marshall (archaeologist)
Sir John Hubert Marshall was the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928...

, including an important marble bust
Bust (sculpture)
A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, as well as a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. These forms recreate the likeness of an individual...

 of Alexander the Great.


Today the collection contains around 10,000 original objects, chief among them numerous black-
Black-figure pottery
Black-figure pottery painting, also known as the black-figure style or black-figure ceramic is one of the most modern styles for adorning antique Greek vases. It was especially common between the 7th and 5th centuries BC, although there are specimens dating as late as the 2nd century BC...

 and red-figure vases
Red-figure pottery
Red-figure vase painting is one of the most important styles of figural Greek vase painting. It developed in Athens around 530 BC and remained in use until the late 3rd century BC. It replaced the previously dominant style of Black-figure vase painting within a few decades...

, as well as over 600 plaster casts. In addition to acting as an educational resource for students, the museum has been exhibiting its most important finds to the general public since 1844. Since 1994 the collection has been on display in the Alte Nikolaischule.

Further reading

  • Gerhard and Ursula Stelzer: Bildhandbuch der Kunstsammlungen der DDR, Leipzig, 1984. ISBN 3363003463.
  • Ernst Vogt: Das Leipziger Antikenmuseum und die griechische Literatur. Saur, Munich, 2001. ISBN 3-598-77559-8.
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