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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Presentation of exhibition “Beholding Liberty! At the Hellenic Parliament, two centuries later”

Presentation of exhibition “Beholding Liberty! At the Hellenic Parliament, two centuries later”

The Hellenic Parliament is dynamically participating in the anniversary events for the bicentennial since the start of the 1821 Revolution with the exhibition "Beholding Liberty! two centuries later"

The bicentennial since the start of the 1821 Revolution is a historical milestone for remembrance and reflection. The Parliament is dynamically participating in the anniversary events with the exhibition Beholding Liberty! At the Hellenic Parliament, two centuries later, which highlights key military, political and diplomatic events of the Struggle for Independence, while reconstructing the symbolic and expressive burden that this top anniversary carries for our people. 

The exhibition unfolds in the two most monumental areas of the Building of the Parliament, the Colonnaded Lobby (“Peristylio”) of the Plenary Hall and the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Hall, former Trophy and Aides de Camp Room. 

Through contemporary museological and museographic approaches, the exhibition’s narrative utilises the cultural reserve of the Parliament, focusing on two unique historical sets, image and speech, respectively: on the one hand, the Frieze of the Revolution and the Medals of the Heroes, i.e. the mural decoration adorning the former Trophy and Aides de Camp room, with 20 representations of war and political-diplomatic events from 1821 (proclamation of the Struggle) to 1833 (arrival of King Otto) and with 14 portraits of heroes, made around 1842-1843; on the other hand, the Archives of the Greek Revolution, an emblematic archival collection of the Library of the Parliament, comprising 28 codes and ten thousand unbound documents from the period of 1821-1832. 

The exhibition material is presented in 3 rooms with an equal number of extensive themes and in 15 sections, in a hybrid manner, as far as the presentation is concerned, while the aesthetics are light and the language accessible.

In total, the viewer can see 34 themes from monumental murals and 367 portable exhibits of various categories (manuscripts, books, paintings, engravings, sculptures, decorative artwork – philhellenic plates, vases, clocks – musical score sheets, weapons). The majority come from collections of the Parliament’s Library and from the Parliament’s Art Collection, as well as from the private collection of Michalis and Dimitra Varkarakis, the Averoff Museum in Metsovo and other private collections. From abroad, a monumentally-sized “School of Athens” tapestry has been offered as a loan, with the kind consent of the President of the French National Assembly, while from Trevizo in Italy an emblematic painting depicting Lord Byron in Messolonghi, has also been loaned for the exhibition.  

The in situ Exhibition in the physical space, with a total of 401 exhibits, is enriched and explained with digital applications in an interactive bank, installed in the Eleftherios Venizelos Hall and a digital augmented reality tour, free of charge through a mobile phone app. We should point out that the exhibition space in question was fully upgraded, the window frames were replaced, as was the air conditioning unit, the marble surfaces were restored and so was the painted decoration. Furthermore, a special lighting study was conducted to highlight the frieze and the portraits adorning the hall, while new display cases were built to host the exhibits.  

The Exhibition will be accessible online, through a special website (also available in English), showcasing all exhibits, with a 3D virtual tour and digital apps-games, that the educational community can use and, what’s more, they will frame the exhibition information in a playful, entertaining way. Lastly, the Exhibition Beholding Liberty! At the Hellenic Parliament, two centuries later will be accompanied by a large-format 456-page scientific catalogue, fully illustrated, with comprehensive documentation (reproduction of all exhibits with captions, accompanying texts and essays), as well as a smaller guide (with all exhibits and captions on the main sections of the exhibition). The above editions will be published in a Greek and English language version, separately. Through the varied “tools” and versions, the Exhibition addresses multiple audiences, more specialised or less so, aspiring to be a unique presentation of the Greek Revolution, accessible and available to all in Greece and abroad.

We invite you, therefore, to “behold” Liberty in the Hellenic Parliament, to gain access to the events that led to its achievement and to witness, through the power of art and speech, all the emotion that arises from this historic moment.

Main sponsor of Exhibition: Onassis Foundation

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