Exhibition | 1821: Before and After

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 22, 2021

Kozis Desyllas, Portrait of Athanasios Diakos, detail, ca. 1870
(Athens: Benaki Museum)

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Now on view at the Benaki Museum:

1821: Before and After
Benaki Museum, Athens, 3 March — 7 November 2021

Curated by Maria Dimitriadou and Tassos Sakellaropoulos

The Benaki Museum—in cooperation with the Bank of Greece, the National Bank of Greece, and Alpha Bank—presents a major anniversary exhibition to celebrate the bicentenary of the pivotal year in modern Greek history, 1821, the year when the revolution which resulted in the country’s independence was declared. 1200 objects unfold more than a century of history, from the 1770 ‘Orlov Revolt’ until the 1880s.

Map of Greece, late 17th or early 18th century, tempera on wood (Athens: Benaki Museum)

Paintings, sculpture, personal items belonging to key revolutionaries, historic documents, and heirlooms are arranged in three sections. The first part (1770–1821) brings to life the progress towards a national revolution. Section two (1821–1831) showcases the events of the War of Independence and its conclusion, and section three (1831–1870) addresses the creation of the modern Greek state and its development during its first half-century.

The show presents objects held in the collections of the three banks and the Benaki Museum, itself a rich repository created on bonds of trust with the families of those who held centre-stage in the Greek Revolution. Loans have also been secured from important museums and private collections in Greece, France, and the United Kingdom.

The exhibition is included in the National Program of Bicentennial Celebrations coordinated by the ‘Greece 2021’ Committee.

An online preview is available here»

Maria Dimitriadou and Tassos Sakellaropoulos, eds., 1821 Πριν και Μετά / 1821 Before and After (Athens: Benaki Museum, 2021), 1218 pages, ISBN: 978-9604762828 (Greek) / ISBN: 978-964762835 (English), 45€.

More than 1200 objects gathered in the exhibition and spread across the 1218 pages of the accompanying catalogue showcase one hundred years of modern Greek history, between 1770 and 1870. The period begins with the moral and economic preparations for the liberation of the Greeks, reaches an apex with the 1821 Revolution, and concludes with the first decades of the operation and development of the new Greek state. The catalogue offer a fascinating journey of history and art, revealing why this adventurous century remains so deeply engaging, even now. These works create a meaningful assemblage that traces the enchanting story of modern Greeks and brings to the fore the reasons of their very existence, their perseverance, and how far they have travelled: all the positive elements that have shaped modern Hellenism.

Copies are available here»

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