Since 2005, with the permission of the Ministry for Culture and the collaboration of Professor Manolis Korres, architects Maria Magnisali and Themistocles Bilis, archaeologist Dr. Stavros Vlizos and a large group of distinguished scientists, an extensive research project was launched to study the Spartan Sanctuary of Apollo Amyklaios, or the Amykles sanctuary. Professor Angelos Delivorrias of the Benaki Museum and the V Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Sparta are in charge of implementing the project.
The goal of this programme is to resolve a series of issues which persist over time, obscuring our perceptions of the sanctuary, despite detailed descriptions by Pausanias (ΙΙΙ 18, 9. ΙΙΙ 19, 1) or the many tentative and more or less imaginative depictions of the Throne, which have been proposed from 1814 to the present day. The intent is also to fully excavate the temple precincts, with a surface investigation of sections that haven’t been investigated in the past; to add to the number of architectural fragments, many of which have been re-used in the walls of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments of the region; to publish all findings and conclusions in the upcoming multi-volume publication of the “Amyklai” series and finally make this archaeological site accessible and attractive for the public
Collaborating agency: V Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Laconia
In charge of research: Eugenia Alexaki
Eleni Vernadaki with her massive and innovative work stamped on the field of artistic pottery in Greece in the second half of the 20th century. For more than half a century, she has created hundreds of ceramic objects-forms, worked on architectural applications of ceramics, and extended her research on the artistic object and the different materials. A representative sample of art works from her creative career is presented and documented in the monograph Eleni Vernadaki (Benaki Museum, 2016), as well as on the website elenivernadaki.org. Within this context, the artist's archive was catalogued and studied, and a bibliographic research was carried out, as well as a research on other archives belonging to artists with whom she collaborated. An in situ research in public and in private buildings has allowed the recording and the highlighting of Vernadakis' important and so far little-known work in wall ceramic compositions. Her presence in the art scene in Greece and abroad was also documented: individual and group exhibitions, participation in artists’ groups, and the history of her emblematic workshop. Finally, articles, reviews and other texts about Eleni Vernadaki published in newspapers, magazines and books in Greece and abroad are also documented.
The website-digital archive of Eleni Vernadakis's work will be gradually enriched, aiming to include as many works of the artist as possible as well as other valuable archival documents.
The study investigates the diversity and significance of household copperware in late antiquity, from the late Roman to the early Byzantine years. Using the Benaki Museum’s extensive holdings as a starting point, the basic categories of copper alloy vessels of the time (including flasks, ewers, unguentaria, shallow vessels, censers, lamps and much more) are examined. Each category is analysed as to typology and its dependence on earlier Roman models is examined, as are developments which appear in later mediaeval vessels. Additionally, putative uses of the vessels in each category are analysed, as is the terminology in which they are referred to in the sources of those times, both in literary texts as in a wealth of papyrological material.
A great contribution to the research is offered by the technological study (see: “Copperware in Late Antiquity”), which accompanies the artefacts. The combined use of historical and literary sources, the typology and the technical analyses is applied systematically in the study of Byzantine copperware for the first time worldwide. This approach led to a more secure classification for all the copper alloy vessels of that period. Moreover, it provided a wealth of new evidence concerning the movement of ores; production centres; workshops; the level of know-how; and the economic significance of working with copper.
In charge of research: Maria Sardi
This research focuses on the field of Islamic Art and Architecture. More than 250 unpublished fragments of Islamic textiles from the Benaki Museum collection were studied, along with a wealth of comparative material from the same collection. The textiles in question were fabricated in the Middle East under the rule of the Egyptian Mamluk Sultans (1250-1517 AD). This collection ranks as one of the best collections of Islamic textiles in the world, spanning as it does textile history from the 8th century until the 19th century throughout the Islamic world. The collection includes fragments of textiles, pieces of which are currently found in Cairo, Boston, at the V&A in London, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford etc.
Collaborating agency: The School of Oriental and African Studies, Department of History of Art and Archaeology, University of London, Prof. Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art & Archaeology.
In charge of research: Dr. George Manginis
This is a long-term research programme, which commenced in 2000, investigating the materials and history of the Benaki Chinese Art Collection. Since then, depending on the stage of the research, there have been announcements and publications presenting any new data (Reconstructing a Vision: George Eumorfopoulos and Chinese ceramics, 2001, George Eumorfopoulos’ donation to the Benaki Museum in Athens, 2002 Private Vision to Public Collection, 2010).
In 2004, a small fraction of the material in the Benaki Museum collection was investigated with a view to be included in the exhibition “Imperial Treasures from China” at the National Gallery - Alexandros Soutzos Museum. An attempt to record the ceramic materials commenced in September 2009 and was completed in March 2011 for an extensive and representative selection of approximately 700 artefacts.
Collaborating agency: The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Department of History of Art and Archaeology, University of London, UK.
In charge of research: Dr. Venetia Chatzopoulou.
The effort to compile a catalogue of Post-Byzantine and later Greek manuscripts in the Benaki Museum Library commenced in October 2007 and will produce a detailed description of approximately 260 manuscripts. These are derived from three distinct collections, all housed at the Museum, i.e. the Benaki Collection, the Exchange Populations Fund Collection and the Damianos Kiriazis Collection and include texts of literary, philosophical, theological and ecclesiastical / liturgical content, as well as books of canon law, school notebooks (called mathemataria), history books, speeches, medical texts and several works of church song.
The study of the above manuscripts includes both a detailed record of their contents, and their paleographic / codicological analysis; but also a presentation of data concerning the history and derivation of the codices, the copyists, the owners, the purpose of all of which is to highlight the wealth of material that exists about later Greek cultural heritage. To this end, the catalogue of Post-Byzantine and Later Greek manuscripts belonging to the Benaki Museum will constitute, on completion, a valuable research tool available to scholars (philologists, theologians, historians, art historians, musicologists, paleographers, codicologists and others), as well as amateurs interested in the Greek language history and culture.
In charge of research: Yanna Tzourmana.
This study touches on some aspects of the phenomenon of British philhellenism in relation to the ‘fragmented ideology of British Reform’ and the British liberal tradition at large. Historians have variously employed the term philhellenism: sometimes limiting their attention to the significance of classical Greece, sometimes including within its scope romanticism, Christian humanitarianism, and nationalism. In this study the primary concern lies elsewhere: with philhellenism as political and intellectual experience and as an instance in the public display of dissidence during the turbulent era of government from scratch; that is to say, in the ‘contextual’ meaning of people’s efforts to transform their social and political existence.
Thus, British philhellenism is placed here in the scope of the concurrent developments of social tension, reform campaigns, and radical, revolutionary or constitutional protest. A distinctive feature of the volume (to be published) is that it pays closer heed than historians of the period have usually done to the significance of British and U.S. political thought and culture. Greek historiography, in particular, has emphasized the importance of France and French Enlightenment thought for Greece’s revolutionary process, while neglecting the importance of the North Atlantic political thought (and particularly, British political thought and culture). Reflecting current critical trends, the study pays also close attention to the evolution of sociability and revolutionary support during the long eighteenth century.
Thus, it sets out to explore sites of discourse (the formation of social networks in London through associations, committees or Friendly Societies) and urban space practices (how London’s unique diversity and power defined both the responses and the forms of support rendered to the revolutionaries). Dealing mostly with London philhellenes as socially and culturally situated actors it seeks to examine how inherited stories and shared idioms of the free-born Englishman in the densely populated trading metropolis or the Global City of London breathed energy, life and enthusiasm into philhellenic support.
Within this scope, it is argued that people’s attitudes towards change (or institutional, political, moral Reform) defined shows of support among British reformers after the outbreak of the revolutions of the 1820 in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Piedmont, and South America.
Associated Agency: The Michael Marks Charitable Trust.
In charge of the research programme: Lucile Arnoux-Farnoux (Université François-Rabelais Tours), Sophie Basch (Institut Universitaire de France, Université de Poitiers), François Loyer (C.N.R.S), Eugene D. Matthiopoulos (University of Crete, IMS-ITE), Paul-Louis Rinuy (Université Paris 8), Panayotis Tournikiotis (National Technical University of Athens) and Maria Tsoutsoura (Ionian University).
Following the success of the conference on Heracles Ioannides’ “Le voyage en Grèce” organised by the French Archaeological School in Athens (Department of Modern Greek Studies) in 2005, and given the increased interest in this topic, particularly for the period of the Interwar Years, the French Archaeological School in Athens (the École Française d’ Athènes- EFA), the Benaki Museum and the Institute for Mediterranean studies commenced a four-year research programme on the artistic and intellectual links between Greece and France from 1919 to 1939. This is a study concerning a period that marks a turn of the Greek intelligentsia towards Paris, but also that of other artists towards Greece. Within the framework of the programme French and Greek historians of literature, art, architecture and photography study the cultural relationship between Greece and France.
This research attempts to shed light on aspects of cultural exchanges in different fields and to pinpoint these relationships in works of that time, in artistic output and in the broader fields of intellectual life. The programme was organised along four axes, around which various individual studies will be carried out:
- Greek artists and authors, who were active in France, and French artists and authors who visited Greece.
- Critical reception of Greek works in Greece and French works in France, as this appears in the daily press, but also in specialist art publications, such as O 20os Aionas (The 20th Century) in Greece and Les Cahiers d’ Art in France.
- Monographs of significant figures of the day, such as Christian Zervos, Tériade, the Merliers and others.
- Themed studies on special topics, such as: literary translation in Greece and in France; Franco-Greek periodicals; international expositions; photography; the role of art galleries and art dealers in the relationship between the two countries; the Delphic games; Interwar architecture etc.
The programme includes the organisation of collaboration group meetings, lectures, symposia and publications. The following collaboration meetings have been held: Les Fêtes Delphiques: une rencontre internationale des lettres et des arts, the Municipality of Delphi Amphitheatre, March 19 – 20, 2010; Paris - Athens 1919-1939. A double voyage / Architecture, Thursday, March 18, 2010, the Benaki Museum; France-Grèce 1919-1939: des relations politiques et économiques au commerce spirituel, Fondation Hellénique, Cité universitaire internationale de Paris, November 26, 2009 ; Crossing glances: intellectual and artistic exchanges between Greece and France in the Interwar period, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, the Benaki Museum; Voyages en Grèce dans les années 1930, Friday, November 7, 2008, INHA, Paris; Antiquité grecque 1919-1939, Saturday, November 8, 2008, INHA, Paris.
Parallel actions / events within the framework of the study: The Research Programme shall conclude with the organisation of a final International Conference in Athens, at the Benaki Museum Annexe on Piraios Street, as well as in the immediate publication of its proceedings. The goal of the conference is to deal with the ideological and cultural relations and exchanges between Greece and France during the Interwar years, particularly in the fields of archaeology, literature, theatre, visual arts, architecture and artistic and intellectual output in general. Associated Agencies: The Benaki Museum, the French Archaeological School in Athens (the École Française d’ Athènes- EFA), the Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS).
In charge of research: Dr. Maria Dimitriadou.
This research extends throughout the entire Archive of the Struggle for Independence, which belongs to the Historical Archives of the Benaki Museum. These are 5,500 documents, which concern the period 1806-1832. The research process aims to identify people and places mentioned in personal correspondence, administrative documents and ministerial correspondence, and in correspondence of those local authorities active during the Greek War of Independence. This provides evidence (to the extent that the documentary density of the archival material permits) as to the participation and reactions of local communities; dissent that existed about the revolution; economic activities and irregularities; the development and stance of leading figures of the War of Independence during the first civil war of 1824, the movements of people during the war of independence.
In charge of the Programme: Poppy Polemi
The Programme, which was started in 1986 by Filippos Eliou with Poppy Polemi as his main collaborator, had as its object a “Greek bibliography of the 19th century” and “Contributors to Greek books” for the period 1749-1922. The product of this programme was the first volume of the Greek Bibliography of the 19th century by Filippos Eliou (Athens 1997), which covers the years from 1801 to 1818, as well as the more recent publication: Filippos Eliou – Poppy Polemi, Greek Bibliography 1864-1900, vol. 1-4, Athens 2006.
The processing of material required for the “Contributors to Greek Books” (1749-1922) is almost complete and the data base generated reveals the names of 930,000 contributors for the period in question.
The relatively large demand for art works and / or archaeological artefacts means that, inevitably, it cannot be covered with artefacts whose provenance is legal; so that increasingly this demand is turning to the illicit trade in antiquities and the creation of forgeries and fakes. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that the question of authenticity is mainly viewed from the point of view of Art Historians and not always in combination with physical and chemical analytical methods, even though these too can be misled by faked “aging” of the object in question. UNESCO has proposed the production and marketing of high quality, “museum” quality copies by reviving ancient production methods and using authentic raw materials, not only in order to promote cultural heritage, but also to satisfy demand and blunt economic pressures, which encourage illicit trade in antiquities and the creation of forgeries and fakes. This proposal has already been accepted by some countries. Unfortunately, from a technical standpoint, when a copy is very faithful, the temptation to place it back on the market as an authentic piece increases. To this end, suitable methods of tagging these objects are required, in order to avoid finding these copies on the market as authentic pieces. The project, which was carried out, aimed to develop:
1. Integrated Elemental Tagging Technology (IETT) to safeguard the identity of the copy.
2. IETT for conservation materials for authentic archaeological artefacts, in order to safeguard their identity in a manner that would help discourage replacement or theft of paintings or metal objects.
3. IETT for contemporary conservation materials for icons and paintings. The creation of a data base that would include pigments and conservation materials for works of selected Greek Icon Painters and Painters from the 16th to the 20th century.
4. Integrated System of Ionic Non-Destructive Techniques for Authentication, which would, on the one hand easily identify IETTs but would also provide a versatile tool to investigate the authenticity of any other untagged work of art or archaeological artefact. Furthermore, in order for private agencies to be able to undertake quality control of the IETT application, the development of a low-cost, simple-to-use, portable X-Ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF) was proposed, which would provide software suitable for use by non-expert staff.
In summarising the results of the IETT programme, the significant achievements that came up will be noted as these correspond to the initial goals.
The results in the selection of chemical tags, which could be incorporated either into a dye or into the corpus of technological ceramic copies and conservation materials were summarised in two ranked multi-parameter tables, which included all the candidate chemical elements. The methodology was developed to incorporate chemical tags in ceramic copies decorated with clay dyes and undecorated, but also in conservation materials, such as the acrylic resin Paraloid B72, in acrylic paints for paintings and in microcrystallic waxes (Renaissance wax) for metal artefacts. In the case of decorated ceramics, the tag is applied before the ceramic enters the kiln, while in undecorated ceramics, tagging takes place by spraying immediately after the objects are removed from the kiln and while they are still hot.
In order to trace the integrated elemental tagging (IET) in ceramic copies and conservation materials, a methodology was developed to measure and quantify this on the basis of X-Ray Fluorescence, XRF. To this end, but also in order to carry out quality controls on the production process for IET, an original portable XRF spectrometer was developed, which was designed, manufactured and evaluated within the framework of the programme and was finally installed on site at the newly-established Non-destructive analysis laboratory at the Benaki Museum.
In order to deal in a more integrated manner with issues of authenticity for artworks and archaeological artefacts, but also in order to carry out a more in-depth quality control of the IET, the Demokritos National Centre for Scientific Research developed an integrated system of non-destructive techniques, which includes an experimental external ion beam station with the support and collaboration of three different ion beam techniques (PIXE: particle-induced X-ray emission; RBS: Rutherford back-scattering spectrometry; and PIGE: particle-induced gamma-ray emission), as well as in a scattering chamber for the application of the innovative PIXRF (Proton-induced X-ray fluorescence) technique. The aforementioned experimental arrays were designed, built and put in place with all the necessary support equipment and electronic arrays as part of the IETT programme. Systematic research led to the development of appropriate analysis protocols, which include optimised experimental measurement conditions for each type of artefact, in order to achieve simultaneous and combinatorial analysis with the different spectrometers; a methodology for calibrating each technique; and software packages, which support the spectrum analysis and the extraction of processing of analytical data. Special emphasis was placed on developing a new methodology for non-destructive analysis of the distribution of the concentration of an element in respect to depth. Within this framework theoretical grounds were developed for the quantification of a novel innovative technique, confocal micro-PIXE, so that with the help of appropriate analysis software and data processing, the elemental distribution of concentrations could be calculated at each depth. This methodology was applied to the non-destructive elemental analysis to the depth of glazed pottery and artificial patina developed on the surface of metal alloys. Finally these non-destructive techniques were utilised to investigate the potential for defining the distribution of hydrogen at each depth, in glazed ancient pottery and in technologically faithful copies through appropriate nuclear resonance reaction.
The technology of incorporated elemental tagging was implemented and suitably evaluated in real conditions for the production of technologically faithful ceramic copies, as well as on specific conservation materials, such as microcrystallic wax and acrylic resin in the collection of metal artefacts of Byzantine and Islamic Art and in a 19th century icon of minor historical significance respectively. It is worth noting that tagged ceramic copies are on sale at the Benaki Museum Shop and at the Cycladic Art Museum Shop, while they have also gone on display with special collections (the Aigaleo metro station; the exhibition: “The excavation at the new Acropolis Museum”, which took place in Beijing as part of the 2008 Olympic Games; the exhibition “Athenian Democracy” in March 2007 at the Foundation of the Hellenic World).
The analytical specifications of the portable XRF spectrometer, as regards its potential for non-destructive diagnosis and characterisation of materials, were evaluated on the one hand by the analysis of specific portable icons, including the “Adoration of the Magi” and “Luke the Evangelist” by Domenicos Theotokopoulos; “Saint George riding a horse” by renowned Cretan painter Angelos (second half of the 15th century); as well an icon by Georgios Klotzas on the same topic; on the other hand by the characterisation of the palette of pigments from 10 representative oil paintings from early works by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Glika, whose oeuvre is plagued by forgeries. Analysis of the portable icons allowed identification of many of the pigments utilised; the preparation materials; and also recognised possible later conservation interventions. The pigments determined by the analysis results from the oil paintings by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika were included in a data base at the Benaki Museum. Select works (an oil painting by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, a portable icon from the Valadoros Collection, 18th century) were also analysed using these non-destructive techniques and the results were evaluated by comparison with the corresponding results provided by XRF analysis. Comparative examination of specific works using other non-destructive analytical techniques (using the ultraviolet, visible and infra-red spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, with near IR spectrometry etc), and the creation of a data base of original pigments utilised in 19th and 20th century Europe and, specifically, in Greece, with the application of these particular non-destructive techniques and XRF was of great help in improving the reliability of the analytical non-destructive atomic and ion beam techniques, which were developed in the framework of the IETT programme.
In conclusion the results of the IETT programme are evaluated as being particularly momentous, as significant innovation was developed as far as infrastructure was concerned (Integrated System of Ion Beam Non-Destructive Techniques, ISIB-NDT; a portable XRF; a Non-Destructive Technique Laboratory at the Benaki Museum), the analytical methodology of IETs for ceramic copies and conservation materials is judged to be a worldwide innovation. IET is a very promising methodology to safeguard the identity of technologically genuine copies and the authenticity of authentic works and artefacts of our cultural heritage. Programme: Joint Ventures for Research and Technology Development in sectors of National Priority.
Associated Agencies: Ministry of Development – General Secretariat of Research and Technology European Fund of Regional Development (funding); Demokritos National Centre for Scientific Research / Institute of Nuclear Physics (Contractor); THETIS Authentics Ltd.; The Benaki Museum – Conservation Department: Stergios Stassinopoulos, Despina Kotzamani, Alexandra Kalliga, Eleni Vranopoulou, Vassiliki Apostolopoulou, Harilaos Grammatikos, Ioanna Providi.
This is an attempt to identify the inorganic pigments utilised in the paintings of Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika with the use of non-destructive techniques. The methods utilised were infrared reflectance; the measurement of False Colour Infrared (FCIR); X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry (XRF); and Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). Initially, samples of pigments that were preserved in the artist’s studio were analysed utilising FCIR, FT-IR and XRF. These pigments are either in the form of a paste or in solid form, on artist palettes. Even though these do not cover the full spectrum of colours utilised by the artist, the results from these analyses were exceptionally useful in comprehending the data that arise from analysing the paintings themselves. Analysis on tubes of pigments will continue, due to new findings and we may in fact focus on these in the immediate future. An attempt is being made to identify both the inorganic and the organic compounds. The paintings were examined using the infrared spectrum, in order to select the most suitable points to carry out the analyses. Subsequently analysis was carried out using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and by measuring false colours in the infrared (FCIR). Examinations utilising XRF were carried out at the Institute for Nuclear Physics at the Demokritos NCFSR, and also at the Benaki Museum analytical laboratory. Analyses using FT-IR were carried out at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry Methods and Techniques at the Athens TEI. Parallel actions / events within the framework of the study: An initial publication took place at the international IIC conference in 2010 in Istanbul.
In charge of the research programme: Vassilis Paschalis (Benaki Museum), Vicky Spachou (student at the Τechnological Educational Institute of Athens), Stamatis Bogiatzis – Athina Alexopoulou (supervising professors TEI Athens), Andreas Karydas – Vicky Kantarelou (researchers National Centre for Scientific Research DEMOKRITOS).
Upon the conclusion of a scientific programme, which concerned the technological examination of signed icons by the painter Angelos, it was ascertained that there was a significant lack of sufficient recorded information from dated works by artists who lived at the same time or before this painter.
Major Cretan works of the 15th century and older than that from the Collection of Saint Catherine of Sinai were selected to create a record of their technique, materials and painting manière, utilising systematic study of the painted surface, microsamples of pigments and the application of special photographic and analytical techniques. At the same time we seek to define the common technological features as well as to distinguish potential individualised elements through which the artists can be differentiated. Associated Agencies: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Crete; the XIII Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.
The Benaki Museum Laboratory for Metal / Glass and Bone Artefact Conservation continues to investigate the technology of the construction, composition and condition of conservation of copper artefacts, which date from Late Antiquity (4th to 7th century AD). Within the framework of this study, it was judged to be necessary to undertake their systematic conservation, which has already revealed many major new data of technological and archaeological interest. Observation through a stereoscope; observation and photography in the visible and infrared spectrum; X-Ray radiography, as well as X-Ray fluorescence analysis have all been carried out. There remain to be done analysis using X-Ray diffractometry, infrared spectroscopy, as well as observation using an optical and an electron scanning microscope. Moreover, using these analyses, it is possible to extract conclusions and answers to questions that are brought up by contemporary research into the study of metal artefacts. They will allow the identification of materials of unknown composition; confirm macroscopic and microscopic evaluations, which were carried out during the stages of conservation, and consequently frame as completely as possible existing historical and archaeological data. Collaborating Agencies: Dr. A. Karydas – V. Kantarellou, Institute of Nuclear Physics, NCSR Demokritos; Dr. V. Perikatsis, Department of Engineering of Mining Resources, Technical University of Crete; Dr. G. Boyiatzis, Department of the Conservation of Art and Antiquities, TEI Athens; Dr. I. Karatasios, Institute of material research, NCSR Demokrotos.
In charge of research: Kalliope Kavasila, Anastasia Ozolin.
The Epitaphios belongs to the category of ecclesiastical gold embroidery and dates back to the mid 14th century. Research preceded the project, but was also carried out throughout the duration of the conservation work, with the following goals:
· To comprehend the manner in which the work was constructed, as, on the one hand, it includes eight different textiles, the materials of which and the manner in which each was used constitute entirely distinct exemplars to those conserved to date and known to the research group.
· To date the textiles and also the entire construction, as well as later interventions in relation to the embroidery, in order to designate how authentic they are, but also to date and locate each in the gold embroidery.
· To conserve and preserve all the textiles, in the dimensions and form they had, when they were put in place, in order to support and frame the embroidery.
· To carry out a technical analysis of the weaving involved in each individual textile, in the patches; to carry out a technical analysis of the embroidery and a comparative study of other epitaphioi and gold embroidery.
· To carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis of the metal threads and yarns, in order to study the materials technology and to carry out a comparative study with other gold embroidery.
· To carry out an analysis of the pigments of the organic dyes utilised, in order to study these and compare to other epitaphioi and gold embroidery.
· To study the embroidery through stylistic analysis and also by analysing and recording the technique of the stitches and colours, which designate the era, but also the workshops where this gold-embroidery was carried out. Other associated agencies: IGME (Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration); the Ormylia Foundation (the Art Diagnosis Centre); ORAU (The University of Oxford’s Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit)
The stereoscopic transparencies known as French tissue represent a significant step in the history of depiction. They can be considered as an early link between photography and the moving pictures. The main concept of paper stereoview transparencies was that someone could see the black-and-white image using reflected light and then, using light passing through the view, using a viewing device, they could see the same image in colour. The viewing device was also utilised in order to provide a three-dimensional impression, as is the case with other kinds of stereoscopic cards.
The innovation and mystery of these images, like the “Diableries” (narrative scenes about the devil and hell), and with theatrical themes, made stereoviews one of the most popular forms of entertainment during the second half of the 19th century.
Their structure was extremely complex: it is an albumin print tinted on the back side with watercolours, which is in contact with a translucent piece of tissue paper and is placed between two cardboard “windows”. This sandwich structure makes the albumin print and the translucent tissue very vulnerable to natural wear. Furthermore, the use of the viewing device that allows one to appreciate the colours of the image, often leads to tears and the loss of the albumin paper. Obviously such tears can be clearly seen and annoying when light travels through the image.
The purpose of this proposal is to investigate the use of digitally-rendered additions, in order to refurbish tissue stereoviews belonging to the Benaki Museum collection, as an alternative method of repair. Given that enhancement applications usually use pigments and dyes, inkjet prints may constitute a potential alternative solution to the use of traditional methods of filling in losses.
A comparative study was carried out between a selection of papers (Epson Premium Photo, Renaissance, Photosafe) in relation to their archival qualities and their compatibility with the original photograph as regards thickness, weight and texture. Particularly where paper tissue stereoview transparencies are concerned, it is important to ensure the compatibility of paper density for any paper additions, as this will affect the image transparency to light passing through the medium. To this end, the samples underwent density measurement to light passing through them and the most appropriate paper was chosen. Another issue is implementing a variety of coatings to the selected papers, in order to achieve tonal compatibility with the original. The issue of the aging characteristics of the digital addition in relation to the original requires further study.
This is a Memorandum of Understanding which refers to a broad spectrum of scientific and educational activities. The sectors whereupon the collaboration focuses are the following: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art (Index for Christian Art); Numismatics (Princeton University PrinNum Database); Contemporary Art (Princeton University Art Museum); Hellenic Studies (Princeton University Program in Hellenic Studies). Furthermore, within the framework of the memorandum, special workshops, conferences and lectures will take place; lessons of the Princeton University Program in Hellenic Studies will take place in the Benaki Museum; and visits and exchanges of special researchers will be scheduled between the two institutions.
The exhibition ‘Ghika – Craxton – Leigh Fermor. Charmed Lives in Greece’ was the outcome of a particularly successful collaboration between the A. G. Leventis Gallery and the Benaki Museum. The exhibition, dedicated to the painters Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika and John Craxton as well as the author Patrick Leigh Fermor, was launched at the A. G. Leventis Gallery (Nicosia) in February 2017, then travelled to the Benaki Museum (Athens) in June 2017 and concluded at the British Museum (London) in March 2018. Thanks to the constant support and coordination of the A. G. Leventis Gallery, the rich collections of the Benaki Museum and the contribution of the Craxton Estate (from where loans of works by John Craxton were drawn), the friendship between the three men who, for over forty years, shared their lives, their homes and their love for the Greek world was perfectly captured. The exhibition was accompanied by a publication in two versions (Greek and English) edited by Evita Arapoglou which could not have been made possible without the generous support of the A. G. Leventis Foundation. Lectures, guided tours and presentations during all three showings of the exhibition promoted this international collaboration between institutions and researchers.
Exhibition curators: Evita Arapoglou, Ian Collins, Sir Michael Llewellyn-Smith, Ioanna Moraiti