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Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre at the National Museum of Singapore

It was International Tourist Guide Day last Saturday and a trip to the museum would cost just a mere $5 to explore the current exhibit - Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre.

There is something about me with ancient history and certainly Greek mythology.

A little known fact is I name all computers after names of Greek Gods. My current P4 PC is named 'Proteus' - In Greek mythology, Proteus is an early sea-god; the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony. He was made the herdsman of Poseidon's seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. Some of his many capabilities include, fore-telling the future and shape changing. From this feature of Proteus comes the adjective protean, with the general meaning of "versatile", "mutable", "capable of assuming many forms": "Protean" has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability.

I was hoping to see Zeus with his lighting bolts, the muscles of Hercules and the ferocious fangs of the Hydra. I saw none...

At the exhibition on the Greek Masterpieces from the Lourve, on show are 130 pieces of stone sculptures, relives, some bronzes, vessels and small figurines.
This is the first time the Greek artifacts have been shipped out for exhibition since they were acquired 200 years ago. The showcase, which has gone to China and Japan in the past, also marks the first time the Louvre will display its works in South-East Asia.

The exhibits were grouped according to four sections:
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Athens in the classical period
Talking about the founding of Athens and how important Athena is as their patron deity

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I was most impressed with the details from some attic red-figure karter c.500-490 BCE, terracotta

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Living in Ancient Greece
A look at life in Ancient Greece, about how the role of the citizens, their obligations, their responsibilities and a little bit about philosophers and the concept of democracy and also very interestingly, the different stratas of society, women and children and also craftsmen.

Agon: The Spirit of Competition
Which actually translates very loosely to the term competition and that is exemplified in the area of sports, in performing arts as well as in this particular type of interaction called symposium.

Here, even the Gods competed among themselves. We spotted some figures of Nike.
Agon is the key to understanding of ancient Greek life, art and literature.

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Greek Mythology and Religion
Some of the most beautiful sculptures were found in this room. Where the statue of The Borghese Ares; son of Zeus and Hera stands juxtaposed facing his lover Aphrodite. Ares had some awesome sculpted butt.

Or the Roman equivalent of Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. By promising the judge, mortal noble Paris of Troy, the love of the most beautiful mortal woman Helen, Aphrodite was famously awarded with the golden apple and the title of the fairest of all goddesses. Hence started the Trojan War.

Most of the free-standing stone sculptures are actually Roman copies. Existing original free-standing sculptures of the Greek period are very, very rare and mostly made of bronze. However, these Roman copies were very valued right through from the first century C all the way even up to the time of Napoleon so they have been in very famous collections and has been kept in the Lourve up till now.

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Homer speaks!

The Story of Orphues and Eurydice:
Orphenus, the son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope, who charmed all gods, humans and beasts by his Lyre.

When his beloved wife Eurydice died, he went before Hades (God of underworld), singing his grief tenderly accompanied by his lyre. Hades was soften by his begging, and Orpheus was permitted to take her away with him on one condition, that he should not turn around to look at her till they should have reached the upper air.

They had nearly reached the outlet into the upper world, when Orpheus, in a moment of forgetfulness, cast a glance behind him, when instantly she was taken away for eternity.

The relief captured the scene of Orphenus and Eurydice's brief reunion before they were separated forever. Hermes, the conductor of souls to the afterlife stood beside them. An emotional and tragic moment.

In many ways, I wasn't awed by the choice of pieces on display. Still there was enough to give a glimpse into the a little Greek wonder.
The tales of human-like emotions, myths, superpowers and the extraordinary lives of conflicts and romance.

More Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre Pictures


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