This Museum is the holy shrine of sculpture from Ancient Greece. With its treasures of 4000 years of artistic creation, it is one of the wonders of mankind and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It took therefore a lot of courage and conviction for its Director Dr. Kaltsas to stage, for the first time in the history of the Museum, an exhibition of contemporary sculpture. He chose the sculptures of Anna Chromy and was rewarded warmly, both by its visitors and the critics.
Here are some excerpts from Dr. Kaltsas’ opening address to explain his motives:
“Anna Chromy’s sculptures are inspired from famous ancient Greek myths. Based on the same allegories and symbols there is no better place for these sculptures to be exhibited than the terrace in front of the National Archeological Museum of Athens.
This is the place where the Myths, the Gods and the Heroes have survived in exactly the same way the Ancient Greek depicted them on marble statues, reliefs, pottery, bronze and minor artifacts from the Prehistoric period to the end of Antiquity.
The mythical figures created by Anna Chromy in marble or bronze, in line with the perceptions of Contemporary Art, seem to have escaped from the Museums galleries; their transformation and revival in our modern world creates a dialectical relation with the miraculous and eternal ancient Greek spirit and artwork.”
Following, with comments from Anna Chromy, are the sculptures exhibited:
With my interpretation of the Rape of Europe I intend once and for all to give this tale a contemporary significance away from the old image with the bull. In my sculpture, the God in form of a white bull has already drowned and a charitable wave of history brings the princess back to our shores where her crystal ball predicts a radiant future for our continent.
The heroes of the ancient Olympics showed the way – our life is a constant challenge. But we are never certain of the final result, and thus, like acrobats, constantly in a precarious position. If we stay on top we succeed, otherwise we are crushed and hurt.
Beauty is eternal, it never dies, and it only takes on new forms. The harmony of Euridyce’s body echoes endlessly in the instrument and song of Orpheus.
Eurydice’s ultimate gesture of love is the metamorphosis of her body into a cello to enable Orpheus to continue his song. The object of his love thus becomes the subject of his music. What a beautiful message of hope after such a terrible loss.
“When the wind blows into our eyes, our soul grows wings”. Despite all the temptations, following the most divine feeling of love, Ulysses returned home to his Penelope. When young, we travel to conquer, overcoming one obstacle after the other. With age, we all want to return home, as if it were a salvation from our inexorable destiny. In our journey we acquire knowledge and serenity which will serve us well in our next life.
“You must imagine Sisyphus happy” Albert
Camus said about the hero of the absurd and, concerning the artist, he added “to create is to live twice since it’s our only chance to preserve awareness”.
For Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and craftiest of men, and so is he for me. He does not give in to an absurd destiny, but continues with perseverance in his effort to create a brighter future for his loved ones and himself.
“In this world I am like a drop of water in search of another drop of water in the sea; I hasten to find my companion and dissolve in my quest”.
Sacrifice in love puts wings to our salvation and gives us compassion towards the other. It makes me free like my beloved sea gulls which I observe from my window out to the Mediterranean.
To find the meaning of our life, we must put aside the daily frenzy and plunge into the mystic silence of contemplation, in a ritual dance of monks which suspends time and leads to the revelation.
As is written in the Aeneid; “look again into yourself, and if you still can’t see beauty, act like the sculptor who models beauty”. All the ideal rules and proportions originate in nature as created by God. To understand them, time, a lot of time is necessary.
This sculpture is my testament to the world and I’m happy and thankful to be able to present it in the city of Athena, the Goddess of Peace.
It originated from great suffering, where I feared pain would overwhelm my soul. But every time my inner voice urged me to resist, like branches in a storm bent without breaking. In moments like this all starts anew, inexpressible fear dissolves into indescribable happiness.
We shall never lose hope! That’s the message of my Coat.