The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ancient treasures from the Republic of Turkey on view at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia
Vessels circa 760 BCE from Tumulus P, the burial chamber of a royal child, found at Gordion in central Turkey. At center, a black polished goat jug, 8.2 inches in length, 5.9 inches in height, and 4.7 inches in width. The vessels are part of the new exhibition, The Golden Age of King Midas, at the Penn Museum February 13 through November 27, 2016. Photo: Penn Museum.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch?

That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of 150 objects, including more than 120 specially-loaned ancient artifacts from four museums in the Republic of Turkey, keys to telling the true story of a very real and powerful ruler of the Phrygian kingdom. The Golden Age of King Midas is an exclusive, world premiere exhibition developed by the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street in Philadelphia, in partnership with the Republic of Turkey.

King Midas lived in the prosperous city of Gordion, a site in what is now central Turkey, circa 750–700 BCE, ruling Phrygia and influencing the neighboring kingdoms. He likely reigned during the time in which Homer’s Iliad was first written down. It was indeed a golden age.

Archaeologists from the Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) have been excavating at Gordion—and making international headlines with their discoveries—since 1950. The crossroads of many cultures over time, Gordion offers insight into thousands of years of history, but it is best known as the political and cultural capital of the Phrygians, a people who dominated much of what is now Turkey nearly 3,000 years ago. With its monumental architecture and a series of wealthy tombs belonging to Phrygian royalty and elites, Gordion has supplied the most important archaeological evidence for the unique material achievements of the once great Phrygian civilization.

From Myth to Man
Nearly 3,000 years after his death, we know King Midas by unforgettable stories told by ancient Greeks long after he was dead, stories like King Midas and the Golden Touch and King Midas and the Donkey Ears. An interactive “myth book” invites guests to explore the stories, while artifacts and excavation discoveries detailed throughout the exhibition begin to reveal the man behind the myths. The most extensive record of Midas’ activities comes from the annual records of the Assyrian kings, who referred to him as Mita, ruler of Mushku (Phrygia), on a clay tablet, ca. 713 BCE, on loan from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago for the exhibition.

A detailed timeline draws guests into the exhibition and back in time. It is at Gordion, where the story of Midas’ actual life and times truly emerges. One object from Greece takes center stage: an ivory lion tamer figurine on loan from the Delphi Archaeological Museum; it probably formed part of a throne dedicated by Midas to Apollo in the late 8th century BCE.

A Unique Opportunity
In 1957, the Penn Museum excavated a spectacular tomb, referred to as Tumulus MM, for Midas Mound. This was the largest of about 120 man-made mounds of earth, clay, and stone used to mark important burials at Gordion. Dated to ca. 740 BCE, it is believed to be the final resting place of King Midas’ father Gordios—a son’s spectacular tribute. The archaeologists entered the tomb, the oldest standing wooden building in the world, and beheld an extraordinary sight: the skeleton of a king in what was left of a cedar coffin, surrounded by the bronze bowls, serving vessels, wooden tables, and food remains from an extensive funeral banquet. The details of the banquet we now know thanks to the analysis of the sediment at the bottom of the vessels: a hearty lamb and lentil stew, and ample quantities of a drink containing wine, beer, and honey mead.

The discovery of an intact royal tomb nearly 3,000 years old is highly unusual, as is the excellent state of preservation of the associated artifacts.

Guests to The Golden Age of King Midas meet a life-sized photograph of archaeologist Rodney Young at the entrance of a space designed to resemble the wooden tomb and featuring many of the very objects the excavators first encountered. Inside this space, a video experience lets visitors explore the tomb as if they were in the tomb itself when it was sealed nearly 3,000 years ago. Now housed in Turkish Museums in Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya, and Gordion, most of these extraordinary artifacts have never before traveled to the United States. Site videos, including scenes taken during the world-famous excavation in 1957, bring guests into the moment of discovery.

There are no known visual records of what King Midas looked like, but if he resembled his father, there is some intriguing evidence. In 1988, the Penn Museum worked with Dr. John Prag and Richard Neave of Manchester University to develop a reconstructed plaster head of Gordios based on his skeletal remains; a plaster cast will be on display in the exhibition. With it is a selection from an assortment of 189 large bronze fibulae, used for pinning garments, that were found in King Midas’ father’s tomb and in others; they may have been used as calling cards at the elaborate funerals.

Objects from five smaller tombs excavated at Gordion—including a child’s tomb that contained an elegant and distinctive goat-shaped jug—provide more information about the site and the people who lived and died there. While no gold was found in the largest tomb, jewelry from a later tomb, ca. 530 BCE, is featured, including a distinctive gold acorn necklace.

Midas on the World Stage
Gordion is immense, about 2.5 miles wide. Penn Museum continues excavations and conservation projects on and around the citadel, a high fortress at the heart of Phrygia’s capital city, where hundreds of people lived and worked. A 3-D model of the citadel, enlivened by light and sound projections, offers guests a bird’s eye view. In the 1950s, archaeologists uncovered the oldest colored pebble mosaic floor known in the world in a large citadel building. Dated to the late 9th century BCE, it measures 35 by 31 feet; a recently conserved section of that floor, roughly five feet long, will be on display in the exhibition.

The story of King Midas is the story of influence and power on an international stage with neighboring kingdoms on all sides. Here, the Penn Museum’s own collections shine: visitors are introduced to the spectacular gold work of the nomadic Scythians and the Lydians; distinctive metalwork of the Urartian Empire; monumental stone and ivory reliefs of the Assyrians; and stone sculpture of powerful Persia, which conquered Gordion in the 6th century BCE. An animated map provides a flyover of the region during and just after Midas’ time.

Gordion After Midas
While the Phrygian period at Gordion is the most renowned, this strategically situated site contains thousands of years of history, and the exhibition sheds light on what happened in Gordion in the centuries after King Midas ruled.

Guests will see fragments—and remarkable watercolor recreations by renowned archaeological illustrator Piet De Jong—of the famous “Painted House” built about 500 BCE, and excavated in Gordion’s citadel during the 1950s. The Painted House murals provide a rare glimpse into the religious rituals of the citadel’s residents, and the lives of its women, 200 years after the death of King Midas.

One of the most important historical accounts involves Alexander the Great’s 333 BCE visit to Gordion, where he purportedly cut the “Gordian Knot.”

Today's News

February 15, 2016

New discoveries and restored paintings by Hieronymus Bosch go on show in exhibition

MoMA opens first comprehensive retrospective in New York of the work of Marcel Broodthaers

Ancient treasures from the Republic of Turkey on view at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia

Dadaglobe Reconstructed: A century after 'Dada', Zurich museum recreates lost work

Ugo Rondinone reveals the beauty of solitude at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Exhibition celebrates contemporary influence of revolutionary movement Dada

Vincent van Gogh's Bedrooms come together for the first time in North America

Outstanding collections meet in exhibition at Nationalmuseum Sweden about the role of the artist

Jack Shainman Gallery exhibits a new group of painted and carved busts by Claudette Schreuders

Exhibition at Bilbao Fine Arts Museum explores the work of the Master Luis de Morales

Thyssen exhibits works by a celebrated group of painters and sculptors of the same generation

Designer handbags in pristine condition available at Leslie Hindman single owner auction

Exhibition at the Holburne Museum, Bath brings together 28 masterpieces from British public collections

Norman Rockwell Museum shares Norman Rockwell's Civil Rights era works on Google Cultural Institute

2 rare Chinese animated bracket clocks expected to chime on time at Fontaine's next big auction

Florence Griswold Museum exhibits works from its collection

TENT opens exhibition of works by young artists

The Weiss Gallery announces highlights to be presented at the European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht

First major museum-based solo exhibition by Awoiska van der Molen on view at Foam

Backed by Mellon grant, UVA establishes new center to study indigenous art

Exhibition at Galerie Urs Meile features a series of new works in a variety of different media by Yan Xing

Exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Paul Corio on view at McKenzie Fine Art

Jeweler Sondra Sherman brings vintage books to life

Perpetuum Violence: Solo show of sculpture by Catalin Badarau on view in Bucharest

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful