Translated from the Original Greek
BOSTON, MA – The Museum of Fine Arts organized a Greek Community Day on Sept. 19, celebrating Greek art and culture, and the one year anniversary of the opening of the Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greek galleries, including the Krupp Gallery, Homer, and the Epics.
Hundreds of visitors of all ages had an opportunity to visit the George and Margo Behrakis Wine and Galleries and see one of the most profound collections of Greek and Roman art. The Behrakis Family has made one of the biggest donations to the Museum consisting of ten million dollars, and they helped raise another 25 million.
The displays consist of three themes: “Homer and the Epics,” “Dionysos and the Symposium,” and “Theater and Performance.” The poetry and drama of this storied civilization come alive through 230 works, primarily from the sixth century to the fourth century BC, including marble and bronze sculptures, ceramic and metal vases, and terracotta figurines.
Many objects on display have been meticulously restored – some for the first time in a century. The fascinating displays will captivate anyone who has been inspired by Greek theater, mythology, or the legendary heroes of Homer’s timeless epics. Set in the George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing of Art of the Ancient World (in the Museum’s original 1909 building), these three galleries have been renovated in order to present the MFA’s renowned Greek collection in a thematic way for the first time. Additionally, new interactive multimedia displays complement the installation by offering detailed looks at complex works of art, while the Museum’s mobile MFA Guide features a new nine-stop tour of the golden age of Greek culture.
A Marble head of Dionysos (circa 4th century BC), god of wine and revelry, presides over this gallery, which introduces the significance of wine in Greek culture and religion. Many of the vases on view were the same types of vessels used in the all-male drinking party known as the symposium – an important event for the elite Athenian. Symposia activities included drinking games, philosophical discourse (as represented by a Portrait Head of Socrates (circa 170-195AD), the performance of poetry and music, and interactions with courtesans – who were the only women invited to these banquets.
A cultural event was organized at the Schapiro Family Courtyard with greeting from George Behrakis, Consul General of Greece Ifigenia Kanaras and former Ambassador to Greece and currently professor at Harvard Mr. Nicholas Burns.
Behrakis told the audience that “I believe that MFA is one of the finest Museums in the World with amazing collections and so many programs for the community – like today’s event.”
Ifigenia Kanara in her remarks said that “modern museums are not just keepers of the past. Modern museums do not just collect and preserve items of great cultural and historical importance. Today’s museum should be agents of change; they should be institutions that foster peace and promote the core values of our humanity; they should undertake initiatives that encourage social development. But to that museums should be part of the society they serve and reach out to every group in the society. And this is what the MFA is doing today. Today the MFA reaches out to the Greek-American community, which must feel very proud; Today the MFA becomes the best “cultural Ambassador,” an ambassador who promotes better understanding and appreciation for our great cultural heritage. And this why the MFA stands out.”
Nicholas Burns praised the Greek Civilizations and Arts and expressed his gratitude to Behrakis for being invited.
Amb. Burns told TNH “it is so important that we honor Greece, we honor the Greek Community and the legacy of Greek political thought, the Greek art and sculpture.” Behrakis said “this is a proud moment for the Greek community of New England and the Museum really wants to promote Hellenism at its best going back thousands of years.” Behrakis revealed that “our next gallery will be the Byzantine gallery which is going to be the first in New England”. Mr. Behrakis believes that the Byzantine gallery will be established in approximately two years.”
The Boston Lykeion Ellinidon which researches, teaches, and performs Greek dances had put together a dance performance of regional and traditional Greek dances.
Stelios Karaminas, guitarist and vocalist from Greek-American band Orfeas, played an inspired set.