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by Archaeology Newsroom

Classicism in the place of the Classical

The exhibition with the title “ The Neoclassical Athens of Pavlos Mylonas. Drawings and surveys of the years 1941-1955” was the reason that this article was written. The exhibition took place at the Benaki museum in the spring and summer of the year 2000. Mylonas notes the buildings that follow ancient Greek principles in the place of classical buildings. The author of this article argues that ancient, classical prototypes acted as an inspiration to the industrial society in general from 1750 to our day. Classicism was promoted by men of letters and archaeologists as an attitude and theoretical approach to the world of their time and not simply as an excuse for the creation of works of art or of buildings. Painters promoted and applied the rules of antiquity to their work both as a political metaphor and as a choice. Classicism was one of the causes that lay behind the ideology of the social and political revolutions in America (1774), France (1789), Greece (1821) and in the Soviet Union (1917). This is particularly interesting in the case of the Soviet Union. At a time where Classicism in Europe had fallen into a decline and Modernism had emerged as a new, revolutionary movement which the Russian Constructivists theoretically belong to, the communist authorities filled the towns of the Soviet Union with public buildings in the classical style and with “palaces” belonging to the people. In Greece, classicism is connected with the uprising of 1821. With this revolt against the Turks, modern Greek architecture moves away from the post-Byzantine style and takes on a visionary architectural style. The fact that a Bavarian king ruled was of lesser importance. The Academy of Athens is an important example of the Neoclassical style in Greece which, it must be added, was accepted very well by Greek society as a whole.