Any visit to Athens should include taking in the National Museum, also known as the National Archaeological Museum. The grounds look a bit shabby and uncared for but, once inside, the amazing works of art housed here illustrate the richness and beauty that is/was ancient Greece.
For Jay, it was a flashback to his History of Western Art course, taken 50 years ago in college. Here, in real life, were many of the works he had studied and he tried desperately, now as then, to remember their significance in the development of Western civilization. Here was “Boy on a Horse” and one of Jay’s all-time favorite Greek gods, Zeus, the supreme dispenser of good and evil and the protector and ruler of humankind. Some art historians think this work depicts Poseidon with a trident in his hand but the prevailing view is that this is Zeus, throwing a lightning bolt. Jay likes that explanation best and likes to imagine this work as an accurate reproduction of himself. Dream on, Jay.
How Rodin’s “The Kiss” got included in the museum collection is unclear but it certainly is consistent with many of the other works.
How many of these works do you remember from classes long ago?
Finally, check out this beautiful piece depicting a couple gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes while draped together in the same piece of material. Wonderful.
This is just a brief example, of course, of the thousands of pieces in the museum collection. If you get a chance to visit, the National Museum is definitely a highlight of Athens.