Islands of the Gods

18 April until 9 September 2012

Exhibition 'Islands of the Gods'Exhibition 'Islands of the Gods'
Lesbos: Arginusae islands (photo: © Georg Gerster)Lesbos: Arginusae islands (photo: © Georg Gerster)
Lesbos: Mytilene, Roman aquaduct (photo: © Georg Gerster)Lesbos: Mytilene, Roman aquaduct (photo: © Georg Gerster)
Athene: Acropolis (photo: © Georg Gerster)Athene: Acropolis (photo: © Georg Gerster)

The exhibition Islands of the Gods will offer a combination of photogenic islands, mythical tales, and beautiful archaeological artefacts. The aerial photographs of Georg Gerster form the basis for an exploration of the rich mythology surrounding the Greek islands. The photographs and stories will be accompanied by appropriate objects from the large Greek collection of the National Museum of Antiquities.

Aerial photos by Georg Gerster

The stunning highlights of the exhibition will be the colourful works of the renowned Swiss photographer Georg Gerster. At the age of eighty, Gerster is the grand old man of international aerial photography. For more than fifty years, he has been photographing the earth's surface from helicopters, aircraft, and hot-air balloons. His spectacular views from on high also offer great variety and, above all, artistic value. His photographs show not only the natural harmony of the sea and the islands, but also the monuments, cities, and landscapes that figure in Greek mythology and archaeology: Athens, Knossos, Ithaca, and Corfu, to name a few of the best-known examples.

Myths of the Greek islands

In this exhibition, the aerial photographs of the Greek island will be combined with objects that have something to do with the islands. Abstract Cycladic figurines were made of lustrous marble. A vase painting of a nocturnal celebration teaches us about the cult of the Mysteries. Pharaoh Amasis made gifts of precious objects at the Temple of Hera on Samos. And medieval monks on Patmos illuminated their church with bronze oil lamps. All these objects illustrate the archaeological wealth of the Greek islands. The audio tour also offers ten mythological stories, including the tales of Odysseus on Ithaca, Princess Europa, and the tragic love affair of Theseus and Ariadne.

< Click on the photographs for enlarged versions

Group tours

Group tours of Islands of the Gods with an English-speaking guide are available every day that the museum is open. The price is €75 per hour (max. 25 participants, museum admission not included). You can reserve a group tour online (webpages in Dutch) or by calling the museum's Service Desk: +31 71 5163 163.

Man in prayerBronze statuette from Crete
DionysusAn inebriated marble statue
Well-headScene with the god Oceanus, putti, and a fisherman
IdolsPrehistoric statuettes from the Cyclades