The exhibition: Gods, Myths and Mortals: Greek Treasures Across the Millennia from the Benaki Museum, offers a manageable, yet complete, picture of the span of Greek civilisation.
It highlights the unbroken continuation and unity of Hellenism, from earliest prehistory to the Classical and Hellenistic years, from the Roman era to the end of the Byzantine period, and from the centuries of foreign rule up to the revolutionary revival of 1821, and the founding of the Modern Greek state. The captivating progression of Greek art, and the twists and turns of Greece’s history are narrated by representative objects from almost eight millennia, coming as much from Greece itself as from lands where Greek culture took hold. At this crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, man – despite long periods of unrest and insecurity – managed to maintain the essential components of his civilisation: an anthropocentric view of the world, lively and inspirational thinking and the fruitful assimilation of as many influences as were accepted from its conquerors over time.
In the exhibition of the Benaki Museum, aspects of everyday life and different sides of religious expression are presented together with documents about the social and political organisation, in order to record the narrative that can be read within the development of Greek civilisation.
It is proposed that Gods, Myths and Mortals: Greek Treasures Across the Millennia from the Benaki Museum will be on display for ten years in the Hellenic Museum of Melbourne, not only due to the many members of the Greek diaspora who live there but also due to the character of the Museum which will host it: a foundation whose aim is to study and demonstrate the contribution of Hellenism to history and art.
As well as providing a concise ‘reading’ of a broad historical framework, Gods, Myths and Mortals can constitute the backbone for all the proposed temporary exhibitions which will be part of the collaboration between the two Museums.