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by Archaeology Newsroom

The collection of western European painting of the National Gallery

A concise presentation of the exhibition of western European painting, held in the National Gallery from July to October 1989, is one of the purposes of this article. The exhibition displayed 135 paintings dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. Given that a number of the works exhibited belong to the original nucleus of the National Gallery’s collection since 1900 when it was instituted by law , a systematic review is attempted of the various problems, which have prevented its smooth function. Featuring largely among them is the long-lasting lack of a proper building to house its collection.Explicit reference is made to the significance of the Gallery, while the collection functioned as an Educational Museum to the National Polytechnic School. Then, an evaluation of the donations made by Greeks of the Diaspora – (Russia, Austria, France, etc.) is made. These donations consist mainly of West European works painted by Italians (Lorenzo Veneziano, Jacopo Sellaio, Luca Giordano, Cecco del Caravaggio, G.-B. Tiepolo) or by Flemish artists (Jacob van Hulsdonck, Jan II Bruegel, Frans Floris, Adam van der Heulen, Jan Fyt). The twentieth century is primarily represented by paintings made by Carolus-Duran, Camille Corot, Eugen Boudin, Victor Brauner and Pablo Picasso. Credit is further given to Marinos Kalligas. former Director of the National Gallery (1949-1971), whose consistent efforts had as a happy result the erection of the present building of the National Gallery, almost 150 years after legislation had made provision for its housing. The article concludes with criticism on how a proper, modern in concept museum ought to function if it is to overcome the shallow, limited activity of a gallery and to become, instead, a point of historic reference for the public.