Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is found
in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland and was
begun in 1934, with the bequesthment of William Thompson Walters and
Henry Walters. William started collecting when he moved to Paris
when the Civil War started, and then Henry refined the collection
and moved it to a palazzo building on Charles Street that opened in
1909. When Henry passed on, he left the building and marvelous
collection of over 22,000 artworks to the city to benefit the
public. This magnificent collection contains works of ancient Egypt,
medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Greek sculpture,
Renaissance bronzes, Roman sarcophagi, old master and 19th century
paintings, art deco jewelry, Chinese ceramics and bronzes. In 2000
the name was changed from the Walters Art Gallery to the Walters Art
Museum to inform the public of its immense collection and prestige.
This museum is where the Archimedes Palimpsest resides, on loan from
its private owner for the spectral imaging studies and preservation.
A palimpsest is a manuscript page that originated from either a book
or scroll, that was scraped and then reused; with the Romans using
wax coated tablets that could easily be scraped over and used again.
The Archimedes palimpsest was a copy of the work of the ancient
mathematician, engineer and physicist Archimedes of Syracuse, as
well as other authors that was overwritten with religious text.
Archimedes lived in the 3rd century B.C., but it wasn't until the
10th century that this work was uncovered and copied. The permanent
collection contains ancient artworks from Egypt, Greece, Etruria,
Nubia, the near east and Rome. Two spectacular 3000 pound statues of
the Egyptian lion-headed goddess Sekhmet are included, the Walters
mummy, Greek gold jewelry that has Greek bracelets from Olbia that
existed on the shores of the Black Sea, alabaster reliefs from the
palace of Ashurnasirpal II, the Praxitelean Satyr, numerous Roman
portrait heads, a marble sarcophagi from tombs of important
Calpurnian and Licinian families and a Roman bronze banquet couch.
Henry Walters bought a 100 gold relics from the Chiriqui area in
west Panama, which became the nucleus of a collection of ancient
American art, and with numerous gifts and loans, the museum has
added more works from South and Central America that include items
from the Mesoamerican Aztec, Mayan and Olmec cultures; plus the
works of Inca and Moche people that lived in east South America. The
Asian collection contains many suits of armor and weapons,
metalworks, Chinese and Japanese porcelains and lacquers. Highlights
of this collection include 12th or 13th century Cambodian bronze of
an 8 armed Avalokiteshvara, an exquisitely painted Ming Dynasty wine
jar, and a T'ang Dynasty earthenware camel. It also has the oldest
surviving Chinese lacquer and wood image of Buddha, from the late
6th century, and one of the biggest and best collections of Thai
scrolls, bronze and banner paintings in the world.