Scholars' Association News
Issue 43
August 2017


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εmotions: “A world of emotions” travels from New York to Athens

The New Work Onassis Cultural Centre exhibition that enchanted and moved audiences and critics alike has been transferred to Greece.

The Acropolis Museum, Greece’s top museum and one of the best in the world, has come together with the Onassis Foundation in a rare, important partnership. The result of this collaboration is the joint hosting of the exhibition entitled “εmotions, A World of Emotions”, which was a major hit at New York’s Onassis Cultural Centre. It is a narrative exhibition shedding light on the unseen universe of emotions in the personal, social and political live of antiquity.

Exhibits from some of the world’s greatest museums tell the tale of emotions in ancient Greek art viewed from the perspective of the Acropolis Museum. As the Museum’s president, Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis notes, “This is an unusual archaeological exhibition which focuses on the portrayal of the 'ethos of the soul' in 129 ancient art-works. Using surprisingly simple but powerful means, the ancient artists depicted bright emotions like desire, love, lust and shame, but also dark passions like madness, fury, revenge and heartbreak”.

For his part, Dr. Anthony Papadimitiriou, President of the Onassis Foundation expressed his joy that the major exhibition has been transferred to Greece and said that, “The journey through time and space goes on. After the impressive exhibition at the Onassis Cultural Centre in New York, 129 relics from the collections of great Greek and international museums are on their way to the Acropolis Museum. Their mission is the same: to help us empathise with the ancient world and the emotions that ruled it. The exhibition chimes both with the Onassis Foundation's educational mission and with the current tendency in historical research, which no longer seeks to extract from the past ready-made teachings for the present, but strives instead to convey the visitors into the past and expose them to the ideas that were prevalent in given eras. It is, of course, a great honour that our partner in this project is the Acropolis Museum, an institution synonymous with extroversion in Greek culture and the unique use of exhibits to inform and educate visitors”.

The show's curators are Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of Ancient History and Classics in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a member of the Board of the Onassis Foundation's affiliate organisation in the US; Nikos Kaltsas, honorary director of the National Archaeological Museum; and Ioannis Mylonopoulos, associate professor of Ancient Greek Art and Archaeology at Columbia University.

The exhibition at the Acropolis Museum will be displayed in a new tailor-made setting, developed by the Museum in association with the architect, Eleni Spartsi. There are 5 key units comprising the exhibition. The first is entitled “The art of emotions” The second is entitled “Spaces for emotions” and consists of 5 subsections: “Emotions in the private realm”, “On the battlefield”, “Emotions in the public sphere”, “Emotions in sacred spaces”, and “Necropolis: A place of mourning and hope”. This is followed by the sections “Emotional conflicts”, “Slaves to emotions” and “Medea”. General oversight of the updated display has been undertaken by the President of the Acropolis Museum, Professor Dimitris Pantermalis, in person. The exhibition, which comes with a catalogue in Greek published with the kind support of the Onassis Foundation, is expected to run until 19 November 2017.

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