A typical tough-as-nails Berliner was asked by a reporter why and how the city had returned to its normal semi-functional status this week, so soon after the 19 December terrorist attack on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas Market leaving 12 dead and nearly 50 injured. “Weil das Leben weitergehen muss,” she replied – ”Because life has to go on.”

The city, including its vast Museum Island that is home to the group of institutions comprising the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, has recovered from tragedy with determination and equanimity before. Thus, as it has for more than 150 years, the Altes Museum is open this Christmas Day, sharing its collection of antiquities with city dwellers and visitors to Berlin alike. 

The ongoing exhibition “Ancient Worlds: Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans” features some of the world’s timeless art treasures, connecting the early Mediterranean cultures through rituals of the harvest, matrimony, religion, and death.

Portrait of Memnon, c. 160.

Leda and the Swan, c. 50 BCE.

Roof Terracotta, Antefix, Juno Sospita, c. 300 BCE.

Portrait of a Woman, c. 150-200, from a Roman tomb in Egypt.

Portico of the Altes Museum with sculptural figures of the Roman gods and goddesses.

Detail, Porphyry Statue of Emperor Wearing Toga, c. 300.

All from Altes Museum, Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Antikensammlung. Photos and post by Jean Marie Carey.

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