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Great Altar of Pergamon subject of President's Choice Lecture

STANFORD -- One of the most remarkable works of Hellenistic art is the subject of the second annual President's Choice lecture on Jan. 24. Bernard Andreae, director emeritus of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, will present "The Great Altar of Pergamon" at 5:15 p.m. in Annenberg Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

For the past 30 years archaeologists have been trying to reconstruct a complicated Hellenistic bronze group that was created between 188 and 168 B.C. at Rhodes and later displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, but ultimately melted down by the crusaders in 1204. About 40 years ago, 7,000 fragments of a marble copy of the famous bronze masterpiece were found at Sperlonga, and the emerging composition is considered a forerunner of the art of Phyromachos, the leading artist of the Great Altar of Pergamon. As each piece is recovered, it becomes easier to understand the meaning of the Great Altar as a victory monument, to appreciate the historic importance of this work of art, and to date the Great Altar.

Although the date of the construction of the Great Altar never had been firmly established, new evidence suggests that the most likely period was the time between the Pergamene victory over the rebellious Gauls in 166 B.C. and the invasion of King Prusias in 156 B.C. - a period that is fully half a generation later than the previously accepted date.

Bernard Andreae, born in Graz, studied in Marburg, Germany, and in Rome. He taught at the universities in Bonn, Bochum, Princeton and Marburg, and was appointed director of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome in 1984. He was personally involved in excavations at Rome, Sperlonga, Pergamon, Ephesos and at Baia in the Gulf of Naples, where he discovered the Palace of Emperor Claudius. Andreae is editor of the illustrated catalog of the Vatican Museum and has published several books on archaeology in Europe, Odysseus, Laocoön and the art of Pergamon.

Andreae is a member of the order "Pour le mérite" and has received several international scientific prizes, including the "Daria Borghese," "Galileo Galilei" and "I Cavalli d'oro di Venezia." He currently is preparing a major exhibition in Rome, scheduled to open early in 1996, titled "Odysseus. Mito e memoria."



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