‘1821 before and after’ – March 2021

200 Years Anniversary Exhibition

Benaki Museum / Pireos 138 – March 2021

The Benaki Museum, in cooperation with the Bank of Greece, the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, organises a major anniversary exhibition for the bicentenary of the 1821 Greek Revolution.



Depiction of the oath-taking warriors inside the Church of Aghia Lavra, Theodoros Vryzakis (1814-78), Oil painting. ©Benaki Museum of Greek Culture


The exhibition, under the title ‘1821 before and after’, will open in March 2021; it will last until October of the same year; and it will be hosted at the Benaki Museum / Pireos 138 building, covering its entire exhibition area. The building will become a living organism telling the story of modern Greeks from 1770 to 1870.


The exhibition will consist of three parts: The first part will start from 1770 and the Orlov revolt and will conclude with the outbreak of the Revolution in 1821. The second part will follow the events of the war up to Ioannis Capodistria and his rule over the new state. Finally, the third part will extend between the arrival of young King Otto in 1833 and 1870.


Flag with Greece represented in the guise of the goddess Athena and the inscription “E ELEFTHERIA E THANATOS” (either Liberty or Death). The flag originally belonged to Theodoros Kolokotronis, who gave it to Konstantinos Dragonas of the Zakynthos committee, who was the revolutionaries’ link with the British administration of the Ionian Islands. © Benaki Museum of Greek Culture


Theofilos The hero Marcos Botsaris, 1933 Diluted oil on cloth 119,5×81 cm © Alpha Bank Collection


Unknown Artist (end of 19th-beginning of 20th century) Kolokotronis gathering the victors of Dramali at Lerna camp (copy of oil sketch from the cycle of paintings about the Greek Liberation Struggle of 1821, created by Peter von Hess, 1839) Oil on canvas, 83,3 x 61,5 cm. © Collection of the National Bank of Greece


Unknown Artist (end of 19th – beginning of 20th century) Alexandros Ypsilantis founding the Filiki Eteria (copy of oil sketch from the cycle of paintings about the Greek Liberation Struggle of 1821, created by Peter von Hess,1839) Oil on canvas, 83,3 x 61,5 cm. © Collection of the National Bank of Greece


The exhibition narrative will use works of art and documents dating from the period in question; they are held in the collections of the three banks and in the Benaki Museum, itself a rich repository created on bonds of trust forged since its foundation with the families of those who fought and held centre stage in the 1821 Revolution. Important paintings, personal items belonging to key revolutionaries and historical heirlooms will bring to life the progress towards a national revolution, the events of the war of independence and its conclusion, the creation of the modern Greek state and its development and operation during the early decades. In parallel, the narrative will include utilitarian objects and testimonies that will bring into focus the everyday life of Greeks in the periods covered by the exhibition.


Irini Geroulanou, President of the Board of Trustees, Benaki Museum

“Over the past century, the Benaki Museum has been the first museum institution in Greece to epitomise the process and development of Greek culture.

In cooperation with three major banking institutions, the Bank of Greece, the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, an exhibition for the 200-year anniversary of the Greek Revolution is organised.

The exhibition will showcase the heirlooms amassed by Antonis Benakis through personal choice and purchases as well as the heirlooms added to the Museum collections by countless donors, admirably arranged and presented by Angelos Delivorrias in the Benaki Museum we all know today, a museum institution with Greek roots and international standing.

The ‘1821 before and after’ exhibition will take over the entire Benaki Museum / Pireos 138 building between March and October 2021. Its extent and duration signify its value and importance for the Benaki Museum.”


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