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Opening of ‘Endyma Psychis’ Exhibition at the Acropolis Museum

ATHENS – The exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) opened on December 19 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens in the presence of President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The exhibition highlights the traditional Greek costume with artistic depth and great cultural significance.

“It is with great pleasure that I inaugurate today the exhibition Raiment of the Soul, the so creative re-approach of our national costume, thanks to the inspiration of the photographer Vangelis Kyris and the embroidery artist Anatoly Georgiev. I am very happy that this exhibition finds the space in the Acropolis Museum to fully develop, thanks to the initiative of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, with the partnership of the National Historical Museum and the Historical Museum of Crete.”

President Sakellaropoulou continued: “I also want to congratulate the General Director of the Acropolis Museum, Nikolaos Stampolidis, who responded enthusiastically to the idea of hosting these wonderful creations in the Museum’s temporary exhibition hall, complemented by two separate works referring to antiquity. With this choice, man’s timeless need to decorate clothing, based on its symbolic function, personal taste, aesthetic perceptions, but also the socio-economic conditions of the time, is underlined, and the ancients’ love of beauty is bridged with the elegance of folk tradition.”

An image from the exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) which runs through March 26, 2023 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. (Photo: Theodoris Manolopoulos/Press Office of the President of the Republic/EUROKINISSI)
An image from the exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) which runs through March 26, 2023 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. (Photo: Theodoris Manolopoulos/Press Office of the President of the Republic/EUROKINISSI)

“Because the focus of the exhibition is the traditional Greek costume, modest or expensive, everyday or festive, fully embroidered and gold-plated, it is not a simple garment,” she noted. “It is a complex semiotic portrait of the person who wears it: every color, every decorative element, even the type of fabrics and their alternation involve some symbolism, evident in the community of the time, enigmatic and seductive for us, the descendants. We are filled with admiration before the beauty of these costumes, awe at the thought of the countless hours spent by weavers, embroiderers and tailors with shuttle and needle to create such elaborate designs, such delicate ornaments.” “However, at the same time, we are also captured by an enlivening impression of a dialogue with these clothes that were once worn by historical figures – from the waistcoat of Kolokotronis and the silk vestments of Dimitrios Voulgaris, to the dress worn by Kyra Frosini,” Sakellaropoulou noted. “It is not only that by looking at them we feel that we are touching the life of our ancestors, their traditions and customs, their religious beliefs, the attitudes and hierarchies of their micro-society, as well as their conceptions of grooming and body decoration. It is also that their photographic representation today and the embroidery process of the photos printed on the canvas tell us about the timeless value of the craft. For the affirmation of the handmade that is constantly claiming ground in our essence-depleted technological age, for the return to long-forgotten values, those that gave meaning to everyday life and content to its simplest manifestations.”

The exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) opened on December 19 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens in the presence of President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou. (Photo: Theodoris Manolopoulos/Press Office of the President of the Republic/EUROKINISSI)

“‘The hand is the window to the mind,’ said Kant. Seeing these works, the strict and beautiful faces in our unique traditional costumes from all over Greece on which a modern hand has added with a few colored threads a pattern, a feather, a detail, one can distinguish the halo of spirituality that surrounds it, within the dramatic scenery set up by the photographer. And it is these artisan-detailed representations, a nod to the past, that become fertile seed for the future,” Sakellaropoulou said.

“I want to warmly congratulate the artists, as well as all those who worked for the realization of this excellent exhibition, an exhibition with artistic depth and great cultural importance,” concluded the President of the Republic in her remarks at the event.

An image from the exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) which runs through March 26, 2023 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. (Photo: Theodoris Manolopoulos/Press Office of the President of the Republic/EUROKINISSI)
Detail of the embroidery on view in the exhibition ‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) which runs through March 26, 2023 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. (Photo: Theodoris Manolopoulos/Press Office of the President of the Republic/EUROKINISSI)

Among those present were Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis.

‘Endyma Psychis’ (Raiment of the Soul) runs through March 26, 2023 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. More information is available online: https://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en.

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