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Arts

Watercolors of the Acropolis: Emile Gillieron in Athens at the Met (Photos)

July 11, 2019

NEW YORK – Watercolors of the Acropolis: Emile Gillieron in Athens at the Met opened on May 13 and runs through January 3, 2020. Tucked in gallery 172 in the Museum’s First floor Mezzanine, the exhibition features an impressive look at the Acropolis through the watercolors of the Swiss artist Gillieron.

A virtuoso watercolorist, Emile Gillieron (1850–1924) became the most important draftsman and popularizer of archaeological discoveries in Greece following his arrival in Athens in the late 1870s. The exhibition features five drawings—three of them more than eleven feet long—that depict architectural sculptures from the Athenian Acropolis. In addition to their documentary value, the drawings capture the power of the ancient sculptures’ mythological subjects, their effect intensified by the surviving traces of original color.

Beginning in 2015, three watercolors, Herakles Wrestling Triton, Two Lions Savaging a Bull, and Three-Bodied Winged Figure, commonly known as “Bluebeard,” were studied and conserved after 70 years in storage, as noted in a video accompanying the exhibition. The video shows the painstaking process and the remarkable results for the watercolor, Herakles Wrestling Triton.

Accompanied by a Bulletin which offers all the details and photos, the exhibition is made possible by The Vlachos Family Fund. The Bulletin is made possible in part by The Ceres Foundation, Inc., The Prospect Hill Foundation, and the Jenny Boondas Fund. The Met’s quarterly Bulletin program is supported by the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, established by the cofounder of Reader’s Digest.

More information about the exhibition is available online: metmuseum.org.

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