Tour the National Gallery-Alexandros Soutsos Museum with Director Marina-Lampraki Plaka
It’s the history of Greece captured through the eyes of its painters. Lytras, Gyzis, Chatzikyriakos-Gikas, Moralis, Chryssa, Zouni, Tetsis, and hundreds of other artists use color and form to convey their personal version of Greece. In 2021, Greece’s largest and most iconic gallery, the new Greek National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, entered a new era, completing a major expansion and modernization project and reopening to welcome visitors. Painting, sculpture, engraving, drawing, and installations live side-by-side on the three floors of permanent collections, offering an artistic and historical encyclopedia of Greek cultural heritage.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supported the expansion of the museum through a $14.16 million (€13 million) grant which proved decisive in completion of the project. The SNF grant, which focused on the completion of Building B of the museum and on other renovation work, supplemented the budget already secured for the project through European and national resources.
The expansion of the National Gallery’s exhibition areas allows more than 1,000 works from its rich collections to be displayed, compared with 400 pieces in the old facilities. The additional exhibition areas allow the National Gallery to showcase more of the important works from its permanent collection of 20,000 pieces, and to develop greater flexibility for more nuanced museological management and curation. At the same time, the new venues, such as the amphitheater, the education program hall, the new gallery shop, and the two café-restaurants, as well as digital applications, allow the National Gallery to embrace a wider educational and social role. Through this project, the National Gallery has been transformed into a modern, functional, and inviting museum, at home in a contemporary building with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies and in constant dialogue with the city of Athens.
As part of the SNF grant, Building B, which hosts the National Gallery’s permanent collections, has been renamed the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Wing.
The new Greek National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum opened its doors to the public on May 14th, 2021.
The SNF grant to the National Gallery covered:
• The addition of a third floor to Building B, which houses the museum’s Administrative Services, Conservation Labs, Library, and a third-floor restaurant with panoramic views, in addition to its permanent collections.
• The completion of all floors of Building B and the construction of circulation ramps on the front of Building B for pedestrian access to all floors, so that visitors who choose to ascend via the ramps may enjoy the view of the city.
• The construction of all lifts in Building B, as well as a spiral glass façade for the stairwell of Building C.
Watch the press conference from July 2017.
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Other SNF grants to the National Gallery have supported:
- The organization of the Techni Group, 100 Years commemorative exhibition at the Byzantine Museum (2017)
- Building studies for the renovation of historic buildings in Goudi Army Park to serve as the National Sculpture Gallery and the implementation of a museological study for the presentation of the sculptures (2003, 2005)
- The organization of the Imperial Treasures from China exhibition (2004)
- The organization of the From El Greco to Delacroix. The National Gallery of Athens Collections exhibition at the Fondation de l’ Hermitage in Switzerland (2002)
- The re-exhibition of the National Gallery permanent collection at the Vasilissis Sofias building, the creation and outfitting of a film room and gallery shop, and the publication of an anniversary catalogue celebrating 100 years of the National Gallery (2000, 2001)