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by Archaeology Newsroom

The archaeologist Leo von Klenze and his vision of Greece

The exterior of the Munich Glyptotech as well as the way the rooms of the museum are designed and what exhibits are on show in them, these are all Leo von Klenze’s achievement. Klenze was Ludwig’s counselor on artistic matters and brought a large number of sculptures to Munich, he also created a collection of great works of Greek vase-painting. Leo von Klenze met Ludwig in 1814. He remained in the service of Bavaria until 1859. Klenze had a classical education and dreamed of a rebirth of Greek architecture and especially of the Doric temple. His travels in Magna Graecia were a turning point in his life. During these travels Klenze visited Doric temples in Pestum, ancient Poseidonia, in Acraganta, Segesta and Selinous. Klenze the “archaeologist” followed where he was led by the drawings he made of monuments. He drew the monuments he visited for hours in great detail. In the four months that he spent in Greece in 1834, Klenze drew the archaic temple at Kardaki in Corfu, the temple of Aphaia in Aegina, St George’s square in Nafplio, a view of Halkida, the temple of the Winds in Plaka, while later, in Munich, he painted an imaginary reconstruction of the Acropolis in oils. While in Athens, Klenze began procedures for legal protection of ancient monuments in Greece. He saw to it that keepers were placed on the site of antiquities for the first time, Klenze also saw to a record of antiquities in Greece being made and repairs started on the Acropolis. The beginning of this task, which was supervised by Klenze in person, was celebrated on the 10th of September as a popular occasion. This was the first celebration held on the Acropolis for centuries.