For the first time, the Benaki Museum is exhibiting material from the collection of historical and travel publications of Efstathios Finopoulos, among the most important of its kind internationally. The exhibition was opened on Tuesday March 6, 2018 at the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture (1 Koumbari Str) and will run till April 29, 2018.
Efstathios Finopoulos is recognized by the international academic and research community as an expert in matters of travel, cartography and documentation of visual material on the greater geographic region known as Greece and the period between the 15th and the 19th century. The multi faceted images of the journey are highlighted through the fantasies and improvisations of early centuries to the exact depiction of later years , along with the multiple identities of travelers in the greater area of Greece.
The exhibition includes around 200 works and is arranged in ten sections that show travelers and routes, maps, early travel testimonies in print, publications on Greek and Ottoman dress and prints of philhellenic interest. Among the exhibition highlights is the Duke of Montpensier’s journey to Greece in the 19th century, prints that belonged to historical persons, aspects of Athens that are not widely known and exhibits that throw light on the collector’s personality. Rare publications are also displayed, hand drawn maps, loose prints and paintings, as well as important historical testimonies, archive material and photographs. Multiple prints indicate the preferences of Finopoulos, as well as the different “takes” of the same publication, successive publications and various translations of the same book that the visitor can take a close look at.
The experience and memory of travel emerge from the valuable material of the Finopoulos Collection which started in the early 1960s with the purchase of second hand books from an open air second hand book store on the Farrington Road, London. Subsequently, the search for old books became a daily habit for the collector. To date, the Collection is still being enriched with books and art works.
The Benaki Museum accepted the donation of the Finopoulos Collection with the aim to conserve and use it as a tool for research and historical study. The collection is housed in a privately owned space in Athens and is overseen by the collector himself, while the catalogue of the publications it includes are available online in the section of the Library collection at the Benaki Museum site.
The exhibition is curated by the collection’s researchers: Maria Xenariou, Mirka Palioura and Konstantinos I. Stefanis.
A 64 page catalogue accompanies the exhibition and a screening of a short video on the collector Efstathios Filopoulos and his work. As background music, the exhibition has a philhellenic composition by the Austrian Hieronymous Payer from a score of 1830 belonging to the Filopoulos collection. This piece of music was a tribute to the naval battle of Navarino and is played by the conductor and pianist Zoe Zeniodi.
There will be guided tours of the exhibition by its curators on the following dates: Saturday March 17 and Saturday March 31, at 12.00 / Saturday April 21 and Saturday April 28, at 12.00