Under the Patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou
Form has always followed function. Moreso, with European decorative and applied arts from the 17th until the 20th century artifacts adjust to a diversity of cultures enabling through their process and application, the expression of current religious, political, and economic norms. The exhibition has been organized on the double centenary since the Greek Revolution, with a historical slant: “Form Follows Function, 200 + 200” dedicated to the development of new features in the arts. The content of this exhibition does not, however, limit itself to the Greek Revolution. Within a still broader Greek perspective, it focuses on the artistic and functional connotations of the objects, drawing on excellent samples of the material culture, from the east and the west, that epitomize everyday life and highlight the importance that art conveys through the passing of time.
The “200 + 200” in the title refers to this time that has passed: starting with the transit from the Renaissance period to the Greek Revolution and proceeding thence down to modern times. Each stage encompasses two centuries. The decorative and applied arts have affected every culture, first materially and then contributing to their overthrow and replacement through use and by crafting new creations with the use of technological advances. In Greece in particular, cultural interactions were varied and substantial. Very often, meanings were transposed and thereby new symbolism was born.
The initial creation and the later reconstruction, the modes of style and finally the use made of heirlooms are all fundamental elements to be appreciated when expounding the story of the traditional arts of Greece. Only thus may one understand how they have come to be symbols of freedom, as well as markers of hierarchy and social prestige. The Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire (1821-1829), was a cataclysmic event which gave birth to a new nation-state: Modern Hellas, simply known as “Greece” at the present time. It was an all-out war fought both on land and at sea, a valiant struggle in the name of freedom, justice, and, as a corollary, modernity. As such, it harnessed the resources of a deep-rooted tradition of liberal thinking and cultural expression with plentiful and significant cultural interactions. The ruins of the war are some of the only remarkable artifacts that have remained, and they exemplify the many centuries of historical turbulence in Europe. These relics are resistant to time and are thus considered today significant works of art that provide us with valuable information concerning daily activities, traditional events, and proof of historical instances.
Following the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the Rococo movements, arts were influenced by their style, and traveled to and from Greece to apply to the local needs and tastes. Thus, the exhibition reveals the story of the material culture spanning from 200 years prior to the Greek liberation until its modern-day aftermath. This exhibition endorses the making of artifacts, their use, and their aesthetics and inspires further investigation of contemporary traditional crafts and applied arts.
The categories of the exhibition have been chosen after consideration to display functional artifacts from both public and private collections that have not been seen or researched before. Artifacts that the museum has been following from different periods in the history of art through presentations in temporary exhibitions or curatorial studies. Our aim has been to alternate with modern museological displays that will not only respect material culture but prove to become aspirations for new creativity and production.
The exhibition and its catalogue were possible after the collective effort of Greek historians, collectors, curators, and staff who diligently endeavored for the past four years to overcome delays and difficulties due to pandemic.
The Categories to the exhibition are
MAKING & FIRING: Arms and Armor from the Eastern Mediterranean, was an extremely popular enterprise undertaking. The mechanisms and the barrels for the fighting guns were originally produced in Italy, Spain, and Albania and were then brought to the Greek mainland, redecorated after changing ownership as spoils of war. Starting before and during the years of the War of Independence, they were remodeled and bejewelled to become one-of-a-kind items. Pistols, flintlock, blunderbuss, knives, swords, bullet cases, and their paraphernalia bring to light facets of the Mediterranean Greek crafts and become symbols of liberation, hierarchy, and status.
THE IDENTITY OF ATTIRE: Functions of attire and jewelry in men and women from the Greek mainland occupy an important component of Greek Traditional Crafts history. In a continuously changing society, dress becomes a principal symbol of local societies with innumerable combinations of local habits and ethnographic traditions. “Greek traditional jewelry” follows grooming or ceremonial use, through an incredible embracement of the human body’s most focal parts. Large pieces are kept today as precious artifacts commemorating traditional functions of the 18th and the 19th centuries and truly manifest an important chapter of Greece’s ethnographic history.
ART DE LA TABLE: Heated Ceramics all the way from the early 15th century Iznik to western Meissen Porcelains and Rhodesian earthenware, these beautiful homeware become remnants of the modern European productions. Found on the Turkish and Greek tables and decorated with the most beautiful designs and colors, the art de la table is found by all social classes. An attempt to set the table of Petrobey Mavromichalis, the Greek general, politician, and leader of the Maniot people, who on 17 March 1821 raised his war flag in Areopolis effectively signaling the start of the Greek War of Independence, with French porcelain bearing his initials shows the elite of homeware use on the Greek mainland. A necessity or luxury, ceramics ignite further research and inspiration returning in fashion both as decorative and practical items.
PRECIOUS SMALL: Bejewelled snuff boxes, seals, storage boxes narrate daily life activities, indicate social standing, and testify daily routines. Nowadays, these small objects are debased works of art and are often granted insufficient space in museum displays. Although our investigation has uncovered thousands of these precious decorative arts together with their making, mechanics, and many other secrets, a selection has been meticulously chosen to display accountable highly elite social activities such as smoking and writing.
THE VALUE OF TIME: Pocket watches and clocks that were used by inhabitants of the Greek mainland, followed the technological trends of western Europe. Uniquely found artifacts today are the “onion” pocket watches with triple cases, that were ordered and compiled to the orders of the Ottomans with the inclusion of Arabic numerals. These selected watches from Greek collections are shown as remnants of the revolution, with many of these perfectly precious portable items decorated for the fighters of the Independence war. Table clocks, with philhellenic themes, for wealthy Europeans aspired to the compassion for the Greek liberation. Table clocks although acquired simpler mechanisms and kept a heavy baroque style, can be restored today for daily use and truly represent the functional aspect of their production.
KONSTANTINOS KAMBANIS FAMILY COLLECTION
KONSTANTINOS LYKOURGOS KANARIS FAMILY COLLECTION
MICHALIS COZONIS FAMILY COLLECTION
VASILIS KORKOLOPOULOS COLLECTION
KATERINA KORRE – ZOGRAFOU COLLECTION
GEORGE – LEON MELAS COLLECTION
ALEXANDROS MITSOPOULOS COLLECTION
IRENE MOSCAHLAIDIS COLLECTION
SAMOURKA FAMILY COLLECTION
MILTOS SINIOSOGLOU – TOSITSAS COLLECTION
MICHAEL SCOULLOS COLLECTION
SPYROS AND SOPHIA PAPAGEORGIOU COLLECTION
NIKITAS STAVRINAKIS AND EVANGELIA STAVRINAKI COLLECTION
ODYSSEAS TSOUKOPOULOS COLLECTION
AND OTHER PRIVATE COLLECTORS WHO WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS
NATIONAL HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF ATHENS
ETHNOLOGICAL AND FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF CHRISSO, ELIAS E. DARADIMOS COLLECTION
JOHN AND KONSTANTINOS J. STEFANIS COLLECTION
FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF ARCHANGELOS, RHODES
ILIAS LALAOUNIS JEWELRY MUSEUM
MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF THE GREEK COSTUME OF THE LYKEION TON ELLINIDON
WAR MUSEUM OF ATHENS, SAROGLOU COLLECTION
GENITSAROI AND BOULES ASSOCIATION, NAOUSA
PELOPONNESIAN FOLKLORE FOUNDATION
*Exhibition opens on 16th of May 2022
Book your ticket via Ticketmaster: http://bit.ly/iliaslalaounis-jewelrymuseum-eticket