Antique Collection

The tradition of Szczecin’s antique collection dates back to late 19th century. Its initiator was Heinrich Dohrn (1838–1913), a businessman, outstanding naturalist and art enthusiast. Artworks collected by him became the basis of the collection of the City Museum (Stadtmuseum), opened in 1913 on account of, among others, his crucial contribution. Besides, Dohrn encouraged numerous Szczecin patrician families to involve in creating great antique art exhibition.

According to tendencies prevailing in Germany at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, its objective was to show everlasting values of European culture. The exhibition planned in such way included extraordinary collection of vases and small visual artworks, as well, as collection of reconstructions of the most famous antique sculptures, originally made of bronze, and known only as marble copies, produced on a large scale much later, in Roman times. Knowing that he was only an amateur with noble intentions, Dohrn proposed cooperation to the most outstanding archaeologist of his era, Adolf Furtwängler and his disciples, among others Paul Wolters and Johannes Sieveking. Therefore in short time a splendid exposition of antique art came to existence in Szczecin.

After Dohrn’s death in 1913 the museum abandoned producing further copies of the statues, settling for enlarging the collection of vases. After 1945 objects that survived the war were lent to the National Museum in Warsaw. They came back in 1994 thanks to efforts of the then director of the National Museum in Szczecin, prof. Władysław Filipowiak.

One of the most precious works in the Szczecin collection is Doryphoros, a reconstruction of the statue by Greek sculptor Polykleitos, made on the basis of Adolf Furtwängler’s research. The statue was created in the 5th century by Polykleitos of Argos and is probably the most famous ancient sculpture of the classical period, illustrating Kanon introduced by the Greek sculptor and rules of composition of ideal human image. The reconstruction from Szczecin, made with traditional, ancient technique of bronze cast, excellently renders colours and texture of antique Greek sculpture.