How many aspects does Beauty have?

Countless, as many as the different facets of aesthetics in human history. The new temporary exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum, titled “The Countless Aspects of Beauty“, presents this constant search and aesthetic depiction of the beautiful in manmade creations.

It is the last part of the exhibition trilogy that was designed to honour the 150th anniversary of the National Archaeological Museum, since the foundation of its emblematic building.

The trilogy was inaugurated in 2015 with the opening of the exhibition «”A dream among splendid ruins…”. Strolling through the Athens of Travelers, 17th-19th century»and continued with the «Odysseys». The concept of the Beautiful, which is the focal point of this exhibition, is an ideal epilogue, since the cultivation of love for the arts was essential among the founding purposes of the National Archaeological Museum.

Focusing on the most intellectual and highest moment of human creation, the exhibition encourages aesthetic contemplation, inviting at the same time the visitors to explore the spiritual basis of aesthetic choices.

The exhibition presents 340 ancient works from the museum’s collections, dating from the Neolithic period to the late antiquity. “The museological narrative develops in four parts that gradually reveal the beautiful as a constantly evolving reality: as an artistic expression, erotic inspiration, position and opposition, and even as a mental or individual struggle towards freedom and self-awareness”, said the National Archaeological Museum Director, Maria Lagogianni.

The first section titled “Eternal aesthetics,” presents selected objects of everyday life that record the constant alternations and the different expressions of aesthetics in human diachronicity. Amongst them, objects of everyday life from various regions of Greek prehistory, that have the quality of a work of art, like the beautiful embossed female bust from Milos (mid-5th century BC).

The exhibition’s second section, titled “The Beautiful and the Desirable“, attempts an essential approach to the aesthetic preferences of the ancient societies on the basis of what the ancient Greek myths reveal about beauty and the archaeological finds that relate to clothing, hairstyles and beautification.

The third section titled “Focusing on the Body” illustrates the expression of beauty in the visual rendering of the human body from the Neolithic period to historic times. The final section “The endless quest” aims at the aesthetic contemplation on the significance of the beautiful and its value for humans.

The exhibition was inaugurated on 25 May 2018 by the President of the Republic and will run through the end of 2019.