This IS the exhibition you’re looking for!

Earlier this afternoon, when I was doing research for a possible work trip to Naples, Italy, I came across this exhibition at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli:

The exhibition is about the mythology of heroes from Antiquity to Star Wars. (Brilliant, if you ask me…. the kid who thought that Alexander the Great was sort of an ancient Luke Skywalker–see an old post on the subject HERE.)  Unfortunately, the exhibition will be over by the time I make it to Naples in November, should the trip be possible (like said, exploring possibilities). The show closes on September 16.

Still, I was in stitches looking through the various photos of ancient art featuring Star Wars characters (some are more successful than others). Imagine, they used the same work of art I featured in my ‘Alexander Skywalker’ post… and added R2-D2 and BB8 to it. The MANN even had the guts to use some of the erotic art from Pompeii!!  (Talk about voyeuristic droids! These are not the droids you are looking for…)

My favourite are the two below. The geeks amongst you will enjoy the fact that you can download all these fun images from the exhibition website.

Alexander the Great and Star Wars

If you’ve been following my blog for while, you should know what’s going to happen in this post.  I’m going to make a crazy link between ancient history and Star Wars… You know that, right?  (I’m very tempted to quote Simply Red here…)

It’s probably not the link you have in mind, though…  If you’re thinking about Samurais, you’re on the wrong track (even though you’re right). In fact, it’s something a little bit more personal, an idea I came up with when I was young: a weird connection between Alexander the Great and Luke Skywalker…

One of three things I absolutely wanted to see at the Archaeological Museum of Naples when I was there in 2014: the famous Alexander Mosaic, representing the Battle of Issus, between Alexander and Darius III.

In my head, Alex was like Luke, a young a man of convictions, fighting an enemy in order to free his universe.  He had the Greek philosopher Aristotle as mentor (Jedi master Obi-wan Kenobi) and his father, Philippe II, was assassinated (Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were killed by the Storm Troopers)… Then, all you need to do is replace the Achaemenid Persian Empire by the Galactic Empire and Darius III with Emperor Palpatine… Needless to say, I had loads of imagination and even if the comparison might be a tad flawed, you get the drift! (Hey, I was just a kid!) Sometimes, one needs to find cool ways of remembering historical facts and people and if Star Wars can help you figure it out, go for it!  Even if you can’t quite make Darth Vader fit in there…

While one of the best military commanders in history and a general never defeated on the battlefield, Alexander failed to fill in the infrastructure vacuum after the fall of the Persians. As as result, at his untimely death in 323 BCE, his vast empire was divided amongst his generals and soon chaos and strife took hold of the Hellenistic world, a world he had fought so hard to unite.

Now what remains to be seen is whether something similar happened in that beloved galaxy far, far away… Were the Jedi able to build a peaceful universe…. or did it go to Hades in a hand basket? I’ll find out tonight…

Eureka! I found it!

I spent some time today doing online research regarding a sculpture in the holdings of the Museo archeologico nazionale in Naples. Actually, I was trying to determine if the work in question was actually on view in the galleries or in storage. Having the inventory number, I was able to find the sculpture on the museum’s image database; however, it didn’t say where the work was located specifically within the museum. (This something that few museums seem to have on their website, but it is so useful when doing collection research!)

Now with the name of this sculpture in Italian, I tried a image search on Google. I found it on several Italian sites dedicated to the promotion of Italian cultural heritage. I could only surmise that because the work was found on those sites it would be available for visitors to discover. However, those sites gave me the impression that the Farnese collection was exhibited as a group and I knew the statue was in that collection (I’ve never been to Naples, so I have no prior knowledge of this museum’s layout). Since nothing was coming up on that work specifically, I thought I would look up general shots of the museum’s Farnese galleries that people had put online. The Farnese collection is famous and one of the reasons why people visit the museum (another reason is the secret room of erotic art from Pompeii and Herculaneum). Thus there are loads of photos available for leisurely online browsing.

After a while (it didn’t take as long as I thought it would), I came across an image taken from a different angle of one of the presumably more famous works from that collection… and there, small in the background, was the less-famous sculpture for which I had been looking all afternoon!

Online research is a bit like archaeological excavations. You keep digging, taking in all the details and clues, and eventually you do find something.