by Alexandra Papaisidorou*
Strolling around the Musee du Louvre on the occasion of the exhibition "Paris-Athens. The birth of Modern Greece, 1675-1919" was a world of emotions inside the Hall Napoleon.
Emotions are the first hidden signs of each form of art and literature. Eyes, ears, sounds, images even odors by our memory and cognition reached us on the Louvre’s Pyramid entrance with elan.
Just few and counted were the lucky ones to enjoy the peace and serenity of Louvre with no visitors and to acknowledge these collective and individual emotions during a recap of that historical processes re-vived in front of us during the pre-opening of the exhibit.
The embattled director of the Musee du Louvre in Paris, Jean-Luc Martinez, welcomed us and our first steps had alredy taken their way along the cyclical stairs and memorial backgrounds of each one of us who had started whispering the emblematic historical extracts of that incoceivable historical and cultural source.
"Is there anything special about the ancient Greeks and their emotions?", asked me and the reply was given in an attempt to transmit all these feelings at once. Basic emotions are not a Greek canvas. Attempting to give explanations, our steps headed to the painting “On the Terrace or Athenian Evening”, by Iakovos Rizos in 1897 on a neoclassical building in Plaka, near the Acropolis of Athens, a painting being placed as a plisse wall across the side of the first hall giving the sense of walking nexto to the figures of Rizos’.
And then, together with awe-struck French pairs eyes, we headed to the following themes... signified our plod to deeper Louvre.
The halls of themes related to Ottoman Greek and the Independent war include artworks of war, warriors, historical momentums of glory or caning. Important personalities such as ambassadors, politicians, intellectuals and scholars of that age became the reason of the Philhellenism wave to be spead across Europe. Special landmarks of archaelogy followed showing off the need to deepen the scientific research and discover a new discipline.Greece was officially recognised as a state in 1830 and Athens became its new capital in 1834. Neoclassicism, the prevalent movement in art and architecture at the time, which drew inspiration from the culture of classical antiquity which trigger thoughts as depicted in works of arts under the exhibition title The colour of Antiquity and the construction of thne Greek identity accompagnied by artwork related to the Entry of Modernity and the construction of a European identity through lots of references and characteristics in Parisian form and vein.
According to Mr. Martinez statements, the exhibition aims to combine the history of archaeology with the history of the evolvement of the Modern Greek state and the art created in it unfolding the anthem of historical events and points under a different content, focused more on conceived notions of that extrovertion and how the rest of the world was influenced by.
It is highly mentioned that the date of 2021 as an anniverasry date, does not only serve as a tribute to the country’s bicentenary of the struggle for independence, but also to commemorate the
introduction of the renowned Venus de Milo to the Louvre, one of the most magnificent sightseeings in the passage of time.
Eugene Delacroix, Theodoros Rallis, Nikos Lytras,Nikolaos Gyzis, Leonidas Drossis among the ones who represent the most special paintings in an exhibition that will last exhibition, which will run from 30 September 2021 to 7 February 2022 and it is organised by Marina Lambraki Plaka, director of the National Gallery–Alexandros Soutzos Museum in Athens, Anastasia Lazaridou, director of Archaeological Museums, Exhibitions and Educational Programmes at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, and Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Louvre, assisted by Debora Guillon, in a unique aesthetic experience indicating emotional evaluations and motivations of such emotions that penetrate every aspect of our lives.
Leaving back Paris-Athens exhibition of the Louvre Museum, one is for sure: Great histories are said by the ones who could manage to create them.
*Editor-at-large, PhD cand. of Cultural Diplomacy & International Relations