The Glyptothek, or statue museum, in Munich is the most beautiful collection of sculpture north of the Alps. Period. Founded by crown prince Ludwig I, who also commissioned the Regensburg Walhalla, the beautiful Befreiungshalle in Kelheim, and several other buildings in classical style, it became one of the most important nineteenth-century art museums in the world. Ludwig’s agents had lots of money to spend, and bought the famous Sleeping Satyr and the Aphaia reliefs from Aegina. The latter put the museum in the same rank as the Vatican (Laocoon), the British Museum (Elgin Marbles), and Louvre (Venus of Milo).
It is hard to say which statues are the best-known: is it the lovely bust of Homer or the portrait of Augustus? Is it the gladiator relief or the tombstone of Mnesarete? The statue of the dying Niobid or the sarcophagus with the dying Niobids? The Munich Kouros or the Rondanini Alexander? The gorgeous Julia Domna or the Drunken Woman? The so-called Sulla or the so-called Marius? Irene or the boy with goose? You will not find the answer. I spend four hours over there last week, making about 700 photos, which I added to about 450 photos made during an earlier visit.
Across the square, you will find the Antikensammlung, which has a fine collection of pottery, a couple of bronze and iron weapons, and fascinating ancient jewelry. There are expositions in this building too. I visited “Strong Women”, which I believe ought to have been organized thirty years ago and is now hopelessly unzeitgemäß. To be honest, it was not the first time I was disappointed: on another occasion, I visited an unconvincing exhibition on the Trojan War. Still, if you find it intellectually unsatisfying, you will have to admit that the objects are at least aesthetically perfect.
(Munich also has an Egyptological Museum. I visited the place, but it was forbidden to take photos, and the less we say about it, the better. Museums that obstruct study, are just ridiculous.)