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The Greek Revolution of 1821 through Art in France

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On the celebratory year of the Greek Revolution of 1821, the Louvre Museum presents exhibits from the Greek revolution by European artists in the context of highlighting the bilateral relations between Greece and France.

The “Birth of Modern Greece 1675-1919” focuses on the evolution of the cultural identity of liberated Greece. In 1675, a collaboration between Athens and Paris begins with the arrival of Charles-Marie-François Olier, marquis de Nointel Consul of Constantinople in Athens, who concludes commercial agreements in Athens, Chios, and the Cyclades.

In “Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce” in 1782, Marie Gabriel Florent Auguste de Choiseul-Gouffier describes the way of life of the Greeks, a new way of life that, according to the European intellectuals of the time, moves away from the archeological ideal. In 1809 in Paris at the Hôtel Hellénophone, together with Gregorio Zalykis and Athanasios Tsakalov, they founded the Filiki Etaireia under the guise of being a society for the study of ancient Greek culture. The feeling of the liberation of Greece from the Turkish burden was now French.

The French Revolution inspired and led to the formation of the new modern history of Europe. It helped the political and social perception of the people. It was a spark in the Greek thought about Democracy and the establishment of a Greek state, a spark that reigned in the soul of every Greek and philhellene both in Greece and abroad.

This feeling is manifested through French romanticism in the illustrations of Delacroix Eugène with characteristic works the “Massacre of Chios”, “Greece resting on the ruins of Messolongion” and “Episode of the Greek struggle” where the conflict of the Greek-Turkish troops. The maturation of the Great Idea, therefore, had acquired the necessary feeling and mentality that led to the national liberation struggle of 1821. 

At the same time, a new era based on Neoclassicism begins. The illustrations, sculptures, and even the residences of the capital are formed with Baroque art and the mirroring of classical antiquity is sought in combination with the harmony and peace of nature. Typical examples are the Old Palace of Otho and the Old Parliament in Athens.

The above exhibition once again contributed to the promotion of Greek culture, our national identity, and cultural culture which evolves over the years and does not remain stagnant in the past. Over ten million visitors to the Museum have the opportunity to travel back in time and become part of the cultural history of Greece.

Koukouliou Zoi

References:

  1. Picture retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carrey.png
  2. (September 2021- February 2022). Musée Louvre.PARIS – ATHÈNES. Naissance de la Grèce moderne 1675 ‐ 1919. Retrieved from: https://www.louvre.fr/en-ce-moment/expositions/paris-athenes#en-lien-avec-l-exposition
  3. Bruns M. E. (2016). Ευρωπαϊκή Ιστορία. Ο Δυτικός Πολιτισμός: Νεότεροι Χρόνοι. Επίκεντρο.

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