Often overlooked or even confused with that of its Greek neighbor, the story ofAlexander The Great and some Ancient Macedonia is currently presented at Louvre Museum around some five hundred works ranging from the XVe century BCE to Imperial Rome. An astonishing exhibition revealing a rich heritage recently discovered and little known to the general public.
The kingdom of ancient Macedonia in search of recognition
The title of the exhibition might sound misleading, it is by no means an exhibition about the famous Alexander the Great but about the art and history of ancient Macedonia. Stirring up more than twenty centuries of history, the Louvre museum reveals an archaeological heritage that was neglected for a long time by researchers until the discovery in 1977 of undefiled royal burials including that of Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Large and of which the visitor will be able to admire a certain number of objects. Unfolding in nine sections, the exhibition thus focuses first and foremost on the archaeological discovery of ancient Macedonia with the opening of a magnificent crown of golden oak leaves, only updated in 2008.
Subsequently, the exhibition chronologically examines the history of Macedonia, notably through landmark dynasties such as that of the Temenids to which Alexander the Great belongs. Finally, the chronological route temporarily gives way to a thematic route around Macedonian society, both on the side of women and men but also of religion. Then comes an evocation of the Roman conquest before ending with the genesis of the myth of Alexander in Antiquity. The exhibition allows visitors to discover a forgotten kingdom marked by the legend of a conqueror.
A synthesis of Greek art from ancient Macedonia
The exhibition combines for the first time works from the Louvre and works coming directly from Greece, mainly from funerary monuments including royal necropolises. She thus gives a rare and prolific panorama of the objects of the deceased from the elite through captivating statuary and goldsmith's work. We thus find striking golden masks, worn by men with their bronze warrior helmets. We also find a whole panorama of political and economic life as well as of Macedonian society with, among other things, women's adornments and jewelry, banquet crockery or even figurations of divinities, etc., all in a very attractive scenography. However, we will sometimes regret this profusion of objects, making the common thread of the exhibition quite difficult to grasp and the overall lack of explanation of the works.
This exhibition of gold, silver and color thus presents works of Greek art, made by Greek artists for the elite of Macedonian society but which have long been neglected by specialists, because they it was Macedonia, not ancient Greece. More than a rehabilitation, a real discovery!
In the kingdom of Alexander the Great, ancient Macedonia. Until January 16, 2012, Napoleon Hall, Louvre Museum.
- In the kingdom of Alexander the Great: Ancient Macedonia, by Sophie Descamps-Lequime, Katerina Charatzopoulou, Collective. Editions du Louvre, October 2011.
- Alexander the Great, the Macedonian, DVD documentary by Bernard George and Alain Moreau. Arte Editions, November 2011.