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The Spyros Louis Cup at the Louvre Museum

Feb 29, 2024
SNF lends the prize given at the first Olympic marathon for a temporary exhibition on the revival of the Games.

The historic Spyros Louis Cup, presented to the winner of the first Olympic marathon at the inaugural modern Olympic Games, which was inspired and designed by Michel Bréal and acquired in an auction by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) with the goal of making it freely accessible to the public by putting it on display at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), will travel to one of the world’s most prominent museums this year. From April 24 to September 16, the Cup will be at the Louvre Museum in Paris as one of the centerpieces of the upcoming temporary exhibition Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy, organized in collaboration with the Ecole Française d'Athènes to coincide with the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to the organizers, the exhibition “invites visitors to discover the creation of the modern Olympic Games, as well as their late-19th-century sources of visual inspiration.... and aims to highlight the role of France, and Paris in particular, far beyond the personality history generally remembers: Pierre de Coubertin. Lesser- known figures, historians and politicians such as Dimitrios Vikelas, Michel Bréal, and Spyridon Lambros, are brought into the spotlight. In their attempt to understand Greek sport through the study of ancient texts and archaeological evidence, these historians and scholars reinvented the Olympic Games of ancient Greece.”

Through the exhibition Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy, visitors to the Louvre will have the opportunity to admire the silver cup bearing Michel Bréal’s inscription in Greek, “Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 1896, μαραθώνιον άθλον, έδωκεν Μιχαήλ Μπρέαλ" (“Olympic Games 1896, Marathon Trophy, Donated by Michel Bréal”), which aimed to link the modern Olympics with the Olympic Games of antiquity.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos said,“The loan of the Spyros Louis Cup to the Louvre Museum, coinciding with the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, reflects the ongoing commitment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to making this unique historical and cultural artifact, which at the same time symbolizes too the values of sportsmanship and fair play, accessible to an ever wider public to be enjoyed—in this case to the millions of visitors that the Museum is expected to attract, especially during the Olympic Games.”