Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008 in Greece

June 28, 2009


I hope you already know about the competition “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” which is being organised by the London Natural History Museum and the BBC Wildlife magazine. If not, please refer to my other post for the 2008 winners.

After it finishes at the Natural History Museum in London every April, the exhibition travels around the world. In fact, the Natural History Museum maintains a site with a list of all the cities the exhibition is scheduled to be hosted at, both in the United Kingdom and around the world.


During my recent visit to Greece, I was positively surprised to see the exhibition there. The Exhibition was hosted by Polaris Publications, with Piraeus Bank as the sponsor. Instead of a museum or a gallery, the exhibition was featured in the atrium of the new Citylink commercial centre, within walking distance from the Syntagma square at the centre of the city. Although the pictures they are illuminated from the back as in the exhibition at Natural History Museum in London,they were printed in high quality photographic paper and were still lokking superb. And the best thing of all is that  you need not pay a ticket to see them.


The pictures are from the area of the atrium. I managed to get some, until security told me it was not allowed to take pictures.


[photos © Lambdaphage, except for the photos of the exhibition, which are copyrighted by their respective owners].


The New Acropolis Museum

June 19, 2009


There are times I wish I was in Greece and one of them is today. The reason is quite simple. It is the official unveiling of the new Acropolis museum.

The new Acropolis museum is a building designed by renown architect Bernard Tschumi. The concept was to build a museum where natural light can enter the building as much as possible. The extensive glass surfaces with the view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon also serve for the contextual unification of the exhibits with their natural environment.

Parallel to the opening of the new Acropolis museum, an old debate seems to be reheated. It is the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. The Parthenon mables, sometimes referred to as the “Elgin Marbles” are pieces of Parthenon’s east and west pediments and the metope, that were removed in 1801 by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, when Greece was under Ottoman occupation, and were transported in Britain. They were then purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed in the British Museum where they still stand.


The Greek governments have instigated an international campaign to have the marbles returned to Greece for moral and artistic reasons. I will not describe the debate here into more detail, as you can read about it in several other sites (Wikipedia, International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

The fact however, remains. To be able to see those marbles in their full glory, you need to have a strong memory and travel 2392 kilometers between those two cities. I hope with the unveiling of the new museum the real reason for their return will resurface. In the new Acropolis museum, the marbles will be bathed by natural light – the same light praised by many writers and poets. It is an experience, that the dimly lit and grey – but nevertheless spacious – room in the British Museum is not able to offer.


P.S.: You may also watch two videos with the prepapation and transfer of the antiquities from the old museun (situated at the Acropolis hill) to the new one.

(First picture © The New Acropolis Museum website and second picture © Christos Vittoratos, source Wikipedia).

Challenging the Past

April 13, 2009

The cover page of the exhibition's booklet

The cover page of the exhibition's booklet

The latest art exhibition of Pablo Picasso entitled “Challenging the past” at the National Gallery in London does not contain any of his most famous works. So, why should someone visit it? Simply because the exhibition presents various paintings throughout Picasso’s career that were inspired, influenced or copied from paintings of other famous artists.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) is hailed as one the most revolutionary painters of the 20th century, one that defied form and function. Together with Georges Braque, he pioneered a new avant-garde art form called cubism. In cubism, objects are decomposed, analyzed and assembled in an abstract from, sometimes depicted in more that one angles to enhance perspective. However, before resorting to Cubism, Picasso appears to have studied different art movements and researched on the painting styles mastered by other titans of European painting. This exhibition attempts to present Picasso in relation to the works other famous European painters.

The exhibition spans 6 different rooms. In the first room, the “Portraits, the visitor encounters a series of self-portraits, with which Picasso experimented on presenting himself in different guises. Rooms 2 and 4 are dedicated to paintings of Picasso’s muses, including paintings of his wives, mistresses and lovers, heavily influenced by paintings of Goya, Corot, Ingres, Cezanne and Velasquez. In room 3, “Characters and types”, the visitor gets a glimpse of Picasso’s portraits of different Spaniards influenced by El Greco’s and Velasquez paintings and in room 5, we see Picasso’s to one of the most common painting styles of European painting, “Still life”.

But it is at room 6 where the exhibition culminates in the best possible way. In “Variations”, the visitors experience Picasso’s several invocations on paintings of other famous artists like “The Rape of Sabine Women” by Poussin and “La Meninas” from Velasquez. We are being presented with a series of paintings, in which we witness tantalizing succession of decomposing the original painting, analysing it elements and recomposing it in Picasso’s unique style. At the end, Picasso has made the theme of the painting his own. The exhibition also includes a short film (approximately 20 min) giving more explanations of the exhibits and Picasso’s life.

This exhibition helps us reassert Picasso’s position in relation to other European painters. Instead of a revolutionary, an outcast and a person that defied the norm, we witness Picasso’s desire to study all the traditional techniques of European painting and place him alongside other famous painters like El Greco and Degas, Raphael and Goya, Velasquez and Cezanne.


P.S: The exhibition “Picasso – Challenging the Past” at the National Gallery in London lasts until 7 June 2009 and you can find some paintings online. There is also a smaller, free exhibition entitled “Picasso’s Prints: Challenging the Past” at Level 2 of the National Gallery.