30 Sep → 7 Feb 2022
Mon, Thu, Sat & Sun from 9 am to 6 pm. Nocturnal Wed and Fri until 9:45 pm. Closed Tue.
The Hellenistic world has always aroused infinite curiosity throughout the world: mythical gods and goddesses, immaculate white statues, philosophers or wise politicians, it is the entire ancient world that has intrigued entire generations of archaeologists, historians and sociologists. From the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European artists were particularly interested in Greece, especially with the advent of the neoclassical style in the 1750s. Painters, sculptors and architects advocated a return to the tastes of antiquity: simplicity and "virtue" as the theoretician Winckelmann wrote, took the opposite view of the Rococo and Baroque styles. If the Greek heritage interests the Europeans so much, it is because the links between the two nations are strong. From 1821 to 1829, the Greek Revolution was in full swing and marked the desire of the inhabitants for freedom from the Ottoman presence. This war of independence was supported militarily and financially by some European countries. During its construction as a free country, Greece was initially largely inspired by French and German neo-classicism, while preserving its national heritage. Thus, the development of a Greek State and its culture is concomitant with this collaboration between Europe and Greece: the creation of a multitude of archaeological institutes (like the French School of Athens in 1846) allows the excavations of Delos, Delphi or the Acropolis to begin; the excavations are carried out mainly by the Germans, the French and the English, and allow to expose the Greek cultural heritage to the whole world at the time of the universal exhibitions. Not only these relations allowed the Greeks themselves to rediscover their own heritage and to build themselves independently, but it is also the moment to make discover another ancient Greece, far from the European neoclassical canons: the statues were not white but variegated and perfumed; the pediments of the temples were also very coloured... It is both a way of recalling the Byzantine and Orthodox identity of Greece, a crossroads of European civilizations, and of spreading a new modern Greek art throughout the world. This original exhibition crosses, for the first time, the history of archaeology with modern Greek art, the history of the country and the development of an independent state.