Image database of the Cast Collection of Ancient Sculpture in Berlin
PD Dr. Lorenz Winkler-Horaček, Dr. Nele Schröder
As part of the cooperative project Das Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk, every plaster cast in Berlin (from Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, and the Antikensammlung/State Museums of Berlin) representing an ancient object was systematically recorded and entered into ARACHNE. This work took place at Freie Universität Berlin between 2009 and 2012.
The Cast Collection in Berlin has a long and eventful history. The first collection of plaster casts was established here as early as 1696. Although first housed in the Academy of Art, in 1855 the casts occupied the entire first floor and staircase of the Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island. In 1921 the collection was moved to a new display venue in the university (today the Humboldt-Universität). At that time, comprising around 2,500 objects, this collection was one of the largest in the world. Damage inflicted in the Second World War and the following decades considerably eroded and finally destroyed the original collection for the most part.
In West Berlin, the Cast Collection of Ancient Sculpture of Freie Universität was eventually reconstituted and, in 1988, opened in Charlottenburg. A part of the old Berlin collection was also opened to the public in the Humboldt-Universität after 1990.
In concert with the Skulpturennetzwerk project, every plaster cast (from Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, and the Antikensammlung/State Museums of Berlin) was recorded and incorporated in ARACHNE. In addition to data like provenance, state of preservation, and relevant bibliography, extant photographs too were digitized.
Plaster casts today represent an essential medium for archaeological research and teaching. By including the Berlin collection of approximately 3500 casts, Das Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk has achieved a considerable increase in the accessibility of extant searchable objects.
Conclusion of the project: September 2012