The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is magnificent, but there are a lot of things you can't buy there. I've found a few on my travels, so here's my top-twenty Wish List if somebody has the power to grant these things.
1. Any one of these little prehistoric figurines in the Israel Museum. Unfortunately I've lost the sketchbook in which I wrote down the details, but you can see what they are.
|Prehistoric figures - Israel Museum, Jerusalem|
2. Only about 60cm high, so will fit on the mantelpiece nicely. The Greeks adopted figures like this from the Near East in the seventh century BC, and they were popular guardians on funerary monuments. I'll be in that. But not for a few years yet.
Sphinx-shaped finial of a funerary stele –
Attica (Greece), Marble 410-400BC.
Altes Museum, Berlin
3. What is it about things with wings?
|Vase - Altes Museum, Berlin|
4. Ivory with ebony inlay; figures battling a dragon. I think it's from the early seventeenth century. And it's part of the Wuerth Collection in the Bode Museum in Berlin
5. Actually a bit bluer than this. Lead glazes are difficult, so pieces are rare. But I can imagine this sitting among the mugs in my kitchen. According to the postcard I bought it has an inscription that roughly translates as “Buy and Use”.
6. And moving right along, to a Vanitas from France or Netherlands. This is supposed to remind you that life is fleeting and you should be thinking of spiritual things rather than earthly.
|ivory; early sixteenth century|
Bode Museum, Berlin
7. Some time in the last five hundred years the child has gone AWOL but I don't really mind. The workmanship is beautiful and I just love the draperies. Rather smaller than it appears here; less than a metre high.
|Virgin and child|
Niclaus Gerhaert or associate - Strasburg about 1465
Bode Museum, Berlin
8. An old and battered piece of wood-carving in the Bode Museum
Fragment of a Crucifix , Giovanni Pisano 1305,
Tuscany. Bode Museum, Berlin
9. Another goddess – Artemis from the temple at Ephesus. There are a lot of depictions of her about. This is one of three in the Ephesus Museum.
|Diana of Ephesus. Ephesus Museum|
Way back in prehistory wooden cult figures standing in temples were decorated with jewellery, and a set of large gourd-shaped amber beads formed a type of breast-jewellery in the eighth-century BCE at the Great Temple of Ephesus. Contrary to popular opinion, Diana/Artemis doesn't have any more breasts than anyone else; the amber beads just got bigger and bigger over the years. Which is not to say there might not be a certain amount of symbolism here . . .
She was in charge of hunting, wildlife and fertility. The Greeks called the ancient Ephesian figure Artemis, but to the Ephesians she was always something special and different from all the other Goddesses of the same name.
10. So here is one of the other Dianas – sorry about the reflections, but they will put these things in glass cases where I can't get at them. It's silver, set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and pearls.
11. Although this is called the Berlin Goddess, she's really a funerary statue from the grave of a wealthy Greek lady. I particularly liked the stylised planes of the face, and did some nice drawings of it for future reference. The red colouring is a trace of the original paintwork.
12. And while we're on the subject of goddesses, here's a lovely big granite statue of Sekhmet.
|Sekhmet - granite. Thebes. |
18th Dynasty (about 1360 BCE)
There are two of them, one each side of a doorway.
|in the Neues Museum, Berlin|
13. Particularly liked the anthropomorphised face. It's only a sandstone copy of a Ptolomaic lion in Rome, but quite good enough for me. A warning, though: it's pretty big.
|Neues Museum, Berlin|
14. Everyone has lions of some sort, and I found plenty to admire and desire. But cats?
These bronze cats were produced in 1910 to guard the first, steel, Baumgartenbruecke in Germany.
The bridge was blown up on 30 April 1945 and the cats followed the Russians home.
They were returned in 1994 and set up here, beside the rather boring new, concrete, bridge that replaced the old one.
The cats were lucky.
|marble portrait of Acellino
Antonio della Porta; Italy; 1500
Bode Museum, Berlin
|before the fire; from a photograph|
very high up on the wall
15. This was one of the works of art transferred to the Flacktower at Friedrichshain for safe-keeping during WWII. Shortly after the war officially ended a mysterious fire broke out in the bunker, and most of the works were destroyed.
A few were salvaged, and the remains of three are on show in the Bode Museum, with photographs of their original appearance.
And that's all I'm going to say about the war.
16. Who wouldn't want this? I found it at the Artbanka Museum Of Young Art exhibition in the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace in Prague. It's definitely worth looking at their website: http://www.amoya.cz/en/ if you can't get to Prague to see the exhibition.
|Male Nude; Barbora Mastrlova, 2010|
Artbanka Museum of Young Art, Prague
17. Still in Prague, at the Veletrzni Palace where the National Gallery of Prague has its 19th and 20th century and Contemporary Art collections.
Vesely (B 1935) "Usurper" 1964 (chair) and "Enigma
metal and mixed media; National Gallery of Prague
18. More 19th - 20th century art from Prague. Gorgeous gargoyles on St Vitus Cathedral. It took 600 years to build the cathedral, and the western facade was designed in the mid 19th century. It was completed in time for the St Wenceslas jubilee in 1929. Mucha designed one of the wonderful stained glass windows.
This facade is described as Gothic Revival, but it is not so much revival as a beautiful completion of a Gothic building.
|Western facade; St Vitus Cathedral, Prague|
19. This, however, is unashamedly Pretend Gothic in the grounds of Schloss Babelsberg near Potsdam.
It was erected by Friedrich Wilhelm IV after the March Revolution of 1848 in memory of fallen Prussian soldiers. The red sandstone archway is a copy of one in the cemetery in Karlsruhe; the statue of the Archangel Michael defeating the “dragon of revolution” is from the workshop of August Kiss.
|Michael Denkmal; Schloss Babelsberg, Potsdam|
20. If we're going for Pretend Gothic, why not just have Schloss Babelsberg itself? Apart from its history, which you'll have to look up for yourself, it's a jolly nice building, having been designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (who may well be my favourite architect) based on the English Gothic style, with a few Tudor elements and extended in 1849 by Friedrich Ludwig Persius, one of Schinkel's students.
|Schloss Babelsberg, Potsdam, Germany|
It's being renovated at present, but I'll have it when the builders have finished, thankyou.