World-famous Originals in Timeless Rooms – Glyptothek

Munich's oldest public museum; the only museum in the world that is solely dedicated to ancient sculpture ... - there is a whole range of unique characteristics that you could apply to the Munich Glyptothek. But none of these superlatives adequately express what a visit to the Glyptothek can offer in the way of aesthetic, artistic and cultural-historical pleasure.

The name "Glyptothek" is a modern made-up word. It is made up of the old Greek words "glyphein" (to sculpture) and "theke" (repository), meaning therefore a storage place for sculptures. Here Greek and Roman marble statues of the highest quality are presented in a spatial ambience that provides an ideal setting for the works of art.

The antiques are free-standing before the plain brick walls of the vaulted museum halls, the architecture of which is modelled on Roman bath buildings. Large windows, which open up the walls down to the floor onto the inner courtyard of the four-winged building, provide for continuous daylight. On sunny days, therefore, you can encounter the marble figures in an atmosphere that could not have been more impressive even at the original sites in sanctuaries or the market places of ancient cities. Together with the State Collections of Antiques on the south side of the Königsplatz, the Glyptothek possesses one of the most important collections of Greek and Roman art in the world.

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Collection – Masterpieces of Antique Sculpture

The Glyptothek owes the extraordinary quality of its exhibits to its founder and benefactor: Ludwig I (1786–1868), King of Bavaria from 1825 to 1848, wanted to acquire only top-quality antiques for his museum.

From Classical Gesamtkunstwerk to the Ideal Museum

The Glyptothek was built by Leo von Klenze (1784–1864), architect to the court of Ludwig I, between1816 and 1830. While the front is based on Greek temple façades, the interior, with its vaulted ceilings, is reminiscent of Roman baths.

History of the Glyptothek Collection

Only very few sculptures in the Glyptothek originate from the old property of the Wittelsbach Prince Electors and these were originally housed in the Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium) in the Munich Residenz. The most important of these is the so-called Drunken Old Woman, the Roman copy of a famous Hellenistic original from around 200 BC.

Ancient Masterpieces on Königsplatz

The two buildings on Königsplatz in Munich rank among the leading international museums for antique art. Here Greek, Roman and Etruscan masterpieces can be encountered in a quality and abundance that can otherwise be found in only very few places in the world – in Berlin, Paris, London or New York.