Greek mythology on the Islands

The exhibition Islands of the Gods in Leiden will offer a combination of photogenic islands, mythical tales, and beautiful archaeological artefacts. The aerial photographs of Georg Gerster form the basis for an exploration of the rich mythology surrounding the Greek islands. The photographs and stories will be accompanied by appropriate objects from the large Greek collection of the National Museum of Antiquities. The highlights of the exhibition will be the colourful works of the renowned Swiss photographer Georg Gerster. At the age of eighty, Gerster is the grand old man of international aerial photography. For more than fifty years, he has been photographing the earth’s surface from helicopters, aircraft, and hot-air balloons. His spectacular views from on high also offer great variety and, above all, artistic value. His photographs show not only the natural harmony of the sea and the islands, but also the monuments, cities, and landscapes that figure in Greek mythology and archaeology: Athens, Knossos, Ithaca, and Corfu, to name a few of the best-known examples. In this exhibition, the aerial photographs of the Greek island will be combined with objects that have something to do with the islands. Abstract Cycladic figurines were made of lustrous marble. A vase painting of a nocturnal celebration teaches us about the cult of the Mysteries. Pharaoh Amasis made gifts of precious objects at the Temple of Hera on Samos. And medieval monks on Patmos illuminated their church with bronze oil lamps. All these objects illustrate the archaeological wealth of the Greek islands.