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Paris–Athens: The birth of modern Greece, 1675–1919



Paris–Athens: The birth of modern Greece, 1675–1919


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30 September 2021–7 February 2022

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"The Louvre Museum opens its gates and the hall of the temporary exhibitions of the Hall Napoleon in honour of the Greek cultural heritage and the strong ties between Greece and France. The bicentenary of the Greek Revolution gives rise to the great temporary exhibition “Paris–Athens: The birth of Modern Greece, 1675–1919”, which is in dialogue with the exhibition “Under the Light of Apollo: The Louvre at Delphi” at the Archaeological Museum of Delphi. The Louvre exhibition present a modern scientific view of Greece’s cultural relations with France and especially of Athens and Paris, from the time of the first ambassadors, in the late 17th century, in the Ottoman Empire, to the Paris Peace Conference and the exhibition of Greek contemporary artists of the Art Group in Paris, 1919. A total of 356 works present the beginnings of the Frankish/French presence in Greece after the Fourth Crusade, the artistic values in post-Byzantine Greece, the Greek struggle for national independence, the travels of French ambassadors to Greece and the philhellenic movement, the French Scientific Mission of the Morea. A large part of the exhibition is dedicated to Athens from 1834 to 1878, as the new capital of the newly formed Greek state, namely in the urban planning and architecture of the city, in the development of the so-called Athenian classicism, in the morals of Athenian society, and in the influences of European artistic trends to the artists of the time, as well as to the founding of the French Archaeological School. A separate section presents the beginnings of archaeological research in Greece (French excavations at Delos and Delphi), while the last section focuses on Athens in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially the relationship of Greek artists with modern art which was focused on Paris. Reference is also made to the growing interest of the time for the Byzantine past, however, the loss of a significant part of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments of Athens in the context of political choices of connecting Greece with its classical past. Photis Kontoglou’s emblematic work “Laokoon” closes the exhibition. The exhibition borrows works from 51 foreign cultural institutions, including the Berlin State Museums, the British Museum, the National Library of France, the Cluny Museum, the Musee d’Orsay, the Petit Palais and the Gabriel Millet Gallery. Important works come from Greece, from Ephorates of Antiquities and museums under the responsibility of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage (44 works), the National Gallery, the National History Museum, the Benaki Museum and the Municipal Gallery of the Municipality of Athens. The exhibition is accompanied by a detailed illustrated catalogue, containing contributions from many Greek experts in its texts, and an album."

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Under the light of Apollo: The Louvre at Delphi

Position: 2025 (20 views)