Antique Fragments, Modern Visions
This chapter addresses the beginnings of the Pergamon altar, from the discovery of its remains by Carl Humann, its arrival in Berlin and initial presentation, to the subsequent reconstruction and current status as museum centrepiece. It also explains how and to what extent the art of Pergamon is related to the history of Greek art and classical antiquity; theories regarding this issue are based on the identification of historical style, moments of style change, degree of definitive Greek art, and the sculpture's consistency of naturalistic details. This concern regarding the character of the sculptures prompted a debate among renowned archaeologists and art historians. The chapter cites Adolf Hildebrand's Das Problem der Form in der bildenden Kunst which illustrates the difficulties that can be encountered in trying to examine the relationship between the sculpture and its architectural frame in accordance with its audience's viewpoint.
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