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.

That he actually managed to do so can be credited to his art dealer, Johann Martin von Wagner (1777–1858), who combined an unerring eye for antique art with brilliant scholarly talent and great commercial aptitude. So in a very short time between 1810 and 1820 an inventory of first-rate sculptures was created: this was subsequently enhanced with further specific acquisitions.

The time period of the antique originals spans from the Archaic period (6th century BC) through the Greek Classical period (5th/4th century BC) and the Hellenistic period (3rd–1st century BC) right up until the Roman Empire and the Late Antiquity (1st–5th century AD). Alongside the sculptures that at one time adorned sanctuaries and public places and buildings or served as funerary monuments, the marble sculptures in the Glyptothek also include numerous portraits of prominent ancient poets, philosophers and rulers, from Homer to Plato, from Alexander the Great to Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.