1821 Before and After: Experience a Complete Panorama of Modern Hellenism at the Benaki Museum

1821 Before and After: Experience a Complete Panorama of Modern Hellenism at the Benaki Museum

Κωνσταντίνος Βολανάκης (1837-1907) ◊ Η αποβίβαση του Καραϊσκάκη στο Φάληρο ◊ 1895 ◊ Λάδι σε καμβά, 150×273 εκ. ◊ Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος, Αρ. Συλλογής: 527

With a whopping 1,200 exhibits spread across the 2,500 square metres of the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street site, “1821 Before and After” is the most extensive exhibition ever presented on modern Hellenism. Make a date to see this comprehensive panorama of a pivotal century in Greek history now.


Map of Greece (late 17th -early 18th century), tempera on wood, Benaki Museum. Donated by Helen Keckeis-Tobler

1200 objects in an exhibition spread across & months, curated by historians Tassos Sakellaropoulos and Maria Dimitriadou, showcasing 100 years of modern Greek history. The exhibition, organised by the Benaki Museum in partnership with the Bank of Greece, the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank is the most extensive exhibition on modern Hellenism ever presented.

The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition  is a 1,218 page labour of love showcasing one hundred years of modern Greek history, between 1770 and 1870. This century 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. 

Through rare works of art and special testimonies from each era, the three parts of the exhibition and the corresponding chapters of the catalogue offer a fascinating journey of history and art, a journey that in each step reveals why this adventurous century remains so deeply engaging, even in the 21st century.

The monumental catalogue 1821 Before and After: Greeks and Greece, Revolution and State is one of the most important publications on modern Greece in recent years.

N. Grigoriadis. The Revolution of 3 September 1843, Lithograph 56×63,The Benaki Museum 26320


Luxurious testimonies and artefacts of everyday life from the pre-revolutionary period, mementoes of war from the Revolution years, along with documents related to all forms of Greek administration, coexist with bourgeois and popular artworks from the first decades of the new state, combined with works of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; altogether, they testify to the echoes and reception of the Greek War of Independence. Together with loans from the co-organiser banks, from organizations and from private collectors, the extensive collections amassed by Antonis Benakis for the Museum he founded and donated to the Greek state take pride of place. 

Konstantinos Volonakis (1837-1907). Karaiskaki arrives in Faliro, 1895. Oil on canvas 150×273 Bank of Greece Collection: 527

Νicolaos Ferekidis (1862-1929) [copy of original artwork by Peter von Hess (1839)]. The arrival of King Otto of Greece in Athens, 1901. Oil on tarp, 200×340 National Bank of Greece Collection

These works create a deeply meaningful assemblage that traces the enchanting story of modern Greeks and brings to the fore the reasons for their very existence, their perseverance and how far they have travelled: all the positive elements that have shaped modern Hellenism.


 The Benaki Museum Shop meanwhile has commissioned artists, ceramicists and designers to craft commemorative objects to celebrate the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence. Drawing inspiration from the vivid imagery of the revolutionary period, expect collectable emblems crafted with a contemporary aesthetic.

WHEN: From March 3 to November 7, 2021

WHERE: The Benaki Museum, Koumbari 1, Athens, Tel:+30 210. 367.1000


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