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The Free and the Brave: a Remarkable Exhibition

In order to highlight the 200th year anniversary of the Greek Revolution the American School of Classical Studies at Athens has assembled an impressive exhibition titled: “The Free and the Brave: American Philhellenes and the ‘Glorious Struggle of the Greeks’ (1776–1866)“.

The showing not only provides important historical documents, but it analytically describes the endeavors of the American Philhellenes to aid the Greek Revolution. The exhibition includes information on a variety of subjects and historical figures. For instance, some of the topics analyzed are:

  • The U.S. Declaration of Independence inspired the basic ideals of the Greek Revolution.

  • Americans saw the Greek War of Independence as symbolic of debates going on in America about slavery.

  • The orphan problem in Greece and America’s humanitarian acts of aid. American Philhellenes adopted young victims of the Greek War of Independence and gave them the opportunity to study in the U.S.

  • The missionaries’ service in Greece and their generous contribution to education. Specifically, Americans attempted to help the Greeks by means of education.

In my opinion the most interesting piece of the exhibition is the replica of the famous statue called “The Greek Slave” by the American sculptor Hiram Powers (1848).

The statue depicts a full-length naked Greek female who is up for auction, symbolizing the atrocities committed by the Ottomans during the Greek War of Independence.

Because of the fact that this was the first nude statue by an American sculptor, it gained widespread attention. This prompted the museum exhibiting the statue to have separate viewings for men and women. The museum sign next to the statue highlighted the figure’s “high moral and intellectual beauty”, meaning that even though nude, it was dressed with Christian modesty.

The exhibition was curated by Dr. Maria Georgopoulou, is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Greece and is housed in the Ioannis Makriyannis Wing of the Gennadius Library, The American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

The exhibition will be available from May 25, 2021, to December 12, 2021 and its opening hours are: Thursday - Sunday: 12.00-18.00 pm. The admission is free.

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