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2004 | 66 | 1-2 | 127-144

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Hellenic Stettin


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The Municipal, or City Museum (Stadtmuseum) in Stettin, internationally recognised since 1945 by its Polish name of Szczecin, was called into existence in 1910. Within three years an imposing edifice had been especially raised as the crowning element of a picturesque urban layout running along the River Oder. The initiator and instigator of this museum was Heinrich Dohrn junior (1838-1913), who belonged to a wealthy family of local industrialists with cultural leanings.The concept of creating in Stettin a municipal museum had arisen among a circle of naturalists, having been intended initially to function as a museum of geology and the natural sciences. However, its programme was rapidly expanded to include on an equal footing art collections. During the half century that passed between the original intention and the museum's opening to the public in 1913, the entire concept of the museum both as an institution and architectural design were transformed. In the dynamic process of museum development, two contradictory tendencies may be identified. The first of these, arising from the rapid expanding of museum collections, involved the splitting up of particular parts of a given collection and housing them in specific museums (e.g. handicrafts), compared to the second which sought to evolve an all-embracing vision of the world culminating in mankind and its artistic creations. The notion of European art was supposed to be represented in a museum conceived in such a way by a collection of antiquity comprising three groups of works. The first part consisted of private ancient objects.The second part of the collection contained various monuments of Greek and Roman art that had been acquired by the Dohrns with an aim to creating museum exhibitions. The third and final part consisted of contemporaneous copies of some of the most famous ancient statues created for the Municipal Museum's foundation.Aiming at recreating the art of past ages, based on historical knowledge, H. Dohrn approached in 1904 Adolf Furtwaengler (1853-1907), professor of classical archaeology at the University of Munich and director of the city's antique collections.Combining enormous knowledge with a creative intuition, he had carried out a series of hypothetical reconstructions of historical Greek monuments which had been lost altogether or survived only in fragments. The archaeologist from Munich took up the Stettin patron's idea and, taking advantage of the most recent achievements in his field, supervised the reconstructing of more than a dozen ancient bronze figures which were produced at the Wittenberg Metal Works at Geislingen. In 1910, work began on reconstructing the statue of Doryforos Policletes, which was intended to play a role of exceptional importance in the Stettin collection. At the same time marble copies of selected Greek statues were carried out on Dohrn's commission. The Stettin (Szczecin) antique collection represents the culminating point in the ancient, artistic and organisational passions of Heinrich Dohrn's jnr. Its shape had been the result of the 19th-century cult of antiquity and the effect of classical archaeology comprehended as the history of antique art. 8 Illustrations.









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  • M. Lopuch, Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie, ul Staromlynska 27, 70-561 Szczecin, Poland


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