The spirit of philhellenism and the insuperable heroic stature of the Greek Woman during the years of the Greek Revolution of 1821 emerges most emphatically through the masterpieces of the superb Collection of Michalis and Dimitra Varkarakis. These are works that teach us our history, the pain and heroism of women, either as mothers or as symbols of sacrifice. Therefore, the primary role of women in 1821 is revealed by the exquisite paintings, from the Greek Mother With Her Dead Child and the Abduction of A Greek Woman, from the first half of the 19th century by Louise Vallot, to the Greek Women Praying to Madonna For Protection During a Battle by Ary Scheffer and the painting Women From Souli in Battle ascribed to Konstantinos Iatras.
As noted by the exhibition’s curator, Fani-Maria Tsigakou, “Philhellenism, namely the practical or emotional support of the fighting Greeks, manifested itself in many forms: by sending military assistance and volunteers, by the contribution of religious or charity organisations, by propaganda articles in the Press as well as through many works of art and all sorts of artefacts; also by the contribution of major personalities in the world of the intellect, such as Goethe, Hölderlin, Chateaubriand, Hugo, Shelley, and Byron who died in Messolonghi in 1824. Philhellenism in painting brought into the foreground a rich production of works, painted by European artists of Romanticism, French mostly, English, Italians and Germans. Eugène Delacroix is regarded a par excellence “philhellene painter”, who, inspired by Byron’s poetry, painted iconic representations that are considered manifestos of philhellenism. The philhellenic repertoire evolved around historical personalities and events, as well as around the horror and hardships of war experienced by the civilian population.”
Exhibition curator: Fani-Maria Tsigakou
The B&M Theocharakis Foundation
9 &, Merlin 1,
Athens 106 71, Greece