Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias opens exhibition dedicated to the modern history of Greek painting


Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday evening opened an exhibition in Vatican City devoted to the modern history of Greek painting.

The exhibition, held at the Palazzo della Cancelleria in the historic center of Rome, will remain open to the public until December 8.

Entitled “Community of Peoples – The Representation of the Human Form, from the Post-Byzantine Era to Contemporary Greek Painting”, the exhibition contains 66 works from the National Gallery of Art / Alexander Soutzos Museum in Athens, other museums Greek, private collections, and foundations.

“This year two landmark events coincide,” said Dendias, “the centenary of the Greek Revolution and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Greece and the Holy See (1980)”. This, he noted, was the occasion for the first exhibition of works from the National Gallery of the Holy See, and it opens a month before Pope Francis’ expected visit to Greece.

“Europe is called upon to take difficult decisions which must focus on solidarity and humanity,” said the Greek minister, adding that Greece and the Holy See should work together to protect the Christian populations in the areas to risk and monuments of world cultural and Christian heritage.

The Greek Embassy to the Holy See assisted with the exhibition, while funding / works came from the Bank of Greece, several foundations (Antonios E. Komninos, Aikaterini Laskaridis, Athanasios K. Laskaridis, Ioannis S. Latsis, Maria Tsakos, AG Leventis), and the shipping company Angelakos (Hellas).

Later that same day, Dendias was to attend a working dinner with representatives of Italian companies active in Greece.


The Palazzo della Cancelleria (Chancellery Palace, in reference to the former Apostolic Chancellery of the Pope) is a Renaissance palace in Rome, Italy, located between the current Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Campo de ‘Fiori, in the rione of Parione. It was built from 1489 to 1513 by Baccio Pontelli and Antonio da Sangallo the Elder as the palace of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, camerlinger of the Holy Roman Church, and is considered the first Renaissance palace in Rome. The Palazzo houses the Papal Chancellery, is an extraterritorial property of the Holy See and is a World Heritage Site.

La Cancelleria was built for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, who held the position of Cardinal Camerling for his powerful uncle, Pope Sixtus IV. It was rumored that the funds came from winnings from a single night of play.

In 1517, the newly completed palace was seized by Pope Leo X, who suspected Cardinal Riario of plotting to assassinate him. He offered the palace to his cousin, Cardinal Giulio de Medici (the future Pope Clement VII). As Cardinal Giulio was vice-chancellor of the Church, the palace later became known as Palazzo della Cancelleria.

From 1753 the Vice Chancellor was the Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, the Jacobite Henry IX of England and Ireland and I of Scotland. At the end of the 17th century, the former Queen Kristina of Sweden resided there.

During the Roman Republic of 1849, parliament briefly sat here.

In 2015, it was the residence of retired and now deceased Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, USA.

The Palazzo della Cancelleria was the first palace in Rome to be built from scratch in the new Renaissance style. Its long facade engulfs the small basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, the cardinal’s titular church, which stands to its right, with the palatial facade continuing straight through it. The entrance to the Basilica is on the right side of the facade. The 5th century basilica (its interior has been reconstructed) is, like the Basilica of San Clemente among others, on a pagan Roman mithraeum. Excavations under the cortile from 1988 to 1991 revealed the foundations of the 4th and 5th centuries of the great basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, founded by Pope Damasus I, and one of the most important early churches in Rome. A cemetery in use from the 8th century until shortly before the palace was built has also been identified.

The facade, with its rhythm of flat pilasters doubled between the arched windows, is of Florentine design, comparable to the Palazzo Rucellai by Leone Battista Alberti. The general pattern of the drawn masonry, cut with smooth surfaces and grooves on the edges, is of Roman origin. The large portal was added in the 16th century by Domenico Fontana by order of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.

The bone-colored travertine of the Palazzo was a spolia of the ancient ruins near the theater of Pompey, because Rome was a field of ruins, built for a city of more than a million inhabitants which then housed only 30,000. 44 Egyptian granite columns in the inner courtyard come from the porticos of the upper covered seats of the theater, but they were originally taken from the theater to build the ancient basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso.

It is more likely that the shape of the courtyard was derived from that of the Palazzo Ducale d’Urbino, as the people involved in the early planning of the Palazzo were originally from Urbino.

The courtyard with the original columns of the theater of Pompey. In the Palazzo there is a large mural that Giorgio Vasari completed in barely 100 days, hence called the Sala dei Cento Giorni. He bragged about this feat to Michelangelo, who replied “Si vede” (“It shows”). In the Palazzo, a small private theater was installed by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, and at the end of the 17th century the Palazzo became a center of musical performance in Rome.

(Source: Wiki)

Key words:
Alexander Soutzos Museum, Athens, Greece, Greek Culture, Greek Museums, Modern Greek Painting, National Gallery of Art, Nikos Dendias, Palazzo della Cancelleria, Romes, Vatican City


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