John Lunsford does not come off as a man easily impressed. He’s former director of SMU’s Meadows Museum, spent many years at the Dallas Museum of Art, and still consults. So it was fun to hear him rave about the Antalya Museum this morning. The archaeology and history museum is small and manageable, though with a little over an hour to spend there, I think we’d all like to go back. Most of the pieces on display were excavated at Perge. And they’re thoughtfully displayed. Seventeen massive statues recovered from the Perge Theatre tower over visitors in a simgle room. It’s easy to see how the Romans – or anyone, for that matter – can use art to impress. If we were intimidated by these works, imagine how awestruck city visitors might have been in 200 AD.
The museum also has a room full of stone portraits – busts and heads from statues. After seeing so many statues with heads missing – either lopped off by conquerors (closer to the time the statues were made) or knocked off by collectors (closer to our times) – it was moving to consider these expressive faces.
Also in the mix: elaborately carved sarcophaguses (or is it sarcophagi?) And one plainer one that a wealthy Roman lady used to bury her dog.
Have a look: