National Gallery in Athens
The National Art Gallery in Athens, Greece: (Temporarily closed for renovation) The National Art Gallery of Athens is the most important museum for the history of art in Greece. It is located in a walking distance from Syntagma Square, just opposite Athens Hilton Hotel.
This gallery was established in 1900 and the first curator was the important Greek painter, George Iakovides. The initiative for the opening of the gallery was the donation of the lawyer and art-lover, Alexandros Soutsos. This is why the gallery is also called Museum of Alexandros Soutsos. After his death in 1986, Soutsos left his large collection of art (107 pieces) to the Greek State, so that a gallery was founded.
At first, the National Gallery of Greece was housed in various buildings, including the Polytechnic School of Athens until 1939. In 1976, the current building on Vassileos Constantinou Ave was constructed, with modern lines and style, and the gallery is housed there until today. More donations followed by Greek entrepreneurs or foreign artists and now the gallery hosts about 15,000 pieces.
The permanent exhibition of the National Gallery includes many paintings of the Renaissance, such as The Concert of the Angels by El Greco, The Adoration of the Shepherds by Jacob Jordaens, Esther and Ahasuerus by Luca Giordano and Eliezer and Rebecca by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, among others. Works of 17th-20th-century European painters are also exhibited, such as works of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matise, Eugene Delacroix, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacques Linard, Auguste Rodin, and others.
A very important wing of the National Gallery is dedicated to the Greek artists, either 19th century artists belonging to the Munich School as it is called, such as Georges Jakovides, Nikiforos Lytras, and Nikolaos Gyzis, or modern 20th century artists, such as Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Gikas, Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Moralis, Spyros Vassiliou, Nikos Eggonopoulos, Dimitris Mytaras, and Theofilos Hatzimichail.
Part of the National Gallery is also the National Sculpture Gallery that is located in the park of Goudi Athens. Over the years, departments of the National Gallery have opened in Nafplion, Corfu, Aegina, and Sparta.