Friday, June 8, 2012

Image database of the Museum of Antiquities and the Plaster-cast Collection of the Leipzig University

Image database of the Museum of Antiquities and the Plaster-cast Collection of the Leipzig University
Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Cain, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Förtsch
The Museum of Antiquities of the Leipzig University, which was founded in 1840, is an archaeological teaching collection that contains plaster casts and originals of ancient art from the Mediterranean area. As academic collections usually do, it consists of an extensive assortment of ancient minor arts objects aiming to give a representative and systematic cross section of ancient art. The collection mainly contains Greek and Etruscan vases, terracottas, statuettes and bronze objects as well as other minor artworks. Large sized sculpture is available to teaching and science mainly in form of plaster-casts of important works of statuary and architectural sculpture. Originals are only represented by a few portrait heads and some fragments of statues and attic grave reliefs.
In the past few years, along with the publication of the collection’s holdings, a project has been initiated in close cooperation with the CoDArchLab of the Cologne University to set up an image-database. In the course of a photo campaign the CoDArchLab documented the exhibited and archived monuments of ancient sculpture and made them available to the public via Arachne, some of these for the first time. After this the integration of the approximately 700 reproductions of ancient sculptures, that were preserved after World War II or newly acquired since the reconstruction of the plaster-cast collection in 1999, began. 

The next step is to record and gradually transfer the original collection focus of the Museum of Antiquities, which evolved in a historical process in the 19th and early 20th century, into Arachne: the so-called minor arts. The digital capture and photographic documentation serve as a basis for the further analysis and processing of the objects from the Leipzig collection. Their integration into Arachne as a central object-database of classical studies is to make them available to archaeologists and students for free worldwide online research.


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