Chicago’s National Hellenic Museum, in collaboration with Notre Dame University School of Architecture, has announced the opening of a new exhibition on November 13. The exhibition is entitled “The Periclean Acropolis: From Antiquity to Modernity” and is sponsored by District 13 of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).
The most ambitious construction project in Greek history, the Athenian Acropolis and its monuments, marked a turning point in Western architecture. Built in honor of Athena, the city’s patron goddess, and in perfect harmony with their natural surroundings, these monuments set a new standard and established a new vocabulary for Western art and architecture. The first and perhaps the only time that man has achieved such level of perfection as a conscious and deliberate act, this monumental landscape is of such unique beauty that has inspired the world for more than 2,500 years.
The exhibition highlights the unique and revolutionary (for the time) classical architecture, and describes the Athenian use of monumental architecture as a tool to bring people closer to the divine. Also featured in the exhibition are images of modern-day Athens that show how classical art and architecture were used to create a sense of a national Greek identity in the 19th century.
The profound impact of the Acropolis in the U.S. is shown through images of iconic American landmarks, including the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, the Supreme Court, the White House, and Chicago’s very own Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Drawings by renowned architect and archaeologist Manolis Korres, former head of the Parthenon Restoration Project, depict the manner in which massive blocks of marble were quarried and transferred from Mount Pentelikon across the city of Athens and to the top of the Acropolis.
Accompanying the exhibition are especially designed educational programs as well as an interactive “hands-on” model, developed by Notre Dame University architecture students, which will help visitors understand the basic elements of the Parthenon’s design.