Raiment of the Soul / Acropolis Museum

Following the initiative of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, the Acropolis Museum presents the emblematic exhibition titled “Raiment of the Soul”, in collaboration with the National Historical Museum of Athens (until 26 March 2023). The exhibition is under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

The Museum hosts in its Temporary Exhibition Gallery in an innovative way, 70 garments and costumes mostly of the 19th century, safeguarded in the past and present with the love and care of people, mainly the personnel of the National Historical Museum of Athens, but also of other Greek Museums. The late Ioannis Mazarakis-Ainian, the open-minded General Secretary of the National Historical Museum, was the one who trusted the authentic costumes from the Museum’s collections to two artists, photographer Vangelis Kyris and artist of embroidery Anatoli Georgiev, to be worn by contemporary people and to be presented in an artistic way. 

The two artists were able to create a new art form with exquisite artworks – photography on garment and embroidering details of the costumes – which would have been presented to the public at the National Historical Museum on the occasion of the 200 years from the Greek Independence War of 1821. However, due to force majeure (covid pandemic) this was not fulfilled, and with this year’s 100-year anniversary of the culmination of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, the exhibition is taking place in the Acropolis Museum Temporary Exhibition Gallery in its full form, as it also includes garments from Asia Minor.  

The exhibition presents 70 artworks articulated in five main units: Costumes which belonged to historic figures, local garments from mainland Greece, Greek islands and Crete, Cyprus and the “lost fatherlands”: costumes and garments relating to the heroes of the revolution of 1821, with eponymous and anonymous protagonists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the artworks included in this exhibition have been exhibited by the artists last year and again this year in Kalamata, Hydra, Syros, Korea (Seoul), and recently in the Museum of ancient Eleutherna in Crete, with an emphasis every time on the garments of their place of presentation.

In this exhibition visitors have the chance to admire two special creations that subtly refer to antiquity as a small tribute to the museums that are presented: the first artwork refers to the renowned ‘Dame d’ Auxerre’, today on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, that can be compared with Proto-Archaic sculptures, such as the Eleutherna Kore. 

Respectively, a sample was embroidered with ornamental details from the garment of the Archaic Kore of the Acropolis Museum, as they were captured over the white surface of the marble, a small reference to a past that proclaims the community of vested beauty with a timeless duration until today.

(Entrance to the exhibition “Raiment of the Soul” is free to the public. A free admission ticket is required from the Museum Ticket Desk).


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