National Gallery, Spyros Vasileiou: The microcosm of Webster Street
Don't miss the National Gallery in the heart of Athens if you want to learn more about Greek art and its evolution from the post-Byzantine to the modern era. The National Gallery invites you to explore works of art by Greek and foreign artists in its freshly inspired and refurbished space, enchanting citizens and visitors of the capital as a contemporary art museum that highlights the personality of Greek culture and art.
The new National Gallery exhibits the painting "The Webster Street Microcosm" by Spyros Vassiliou. On Webster Street, across the street from our hotel, Acropolis View Hotel, was the studio of the painter Spyros Vassiliou and, for several years, a museum for the painter's work until recently.
For Barba Spyros, as he was affectionately referred to by the many admirers of his paintings, nostalgia for a disappearing Athens and the loss of a familiar way of life in a faceless metropolis served as an endless source of inspiration. He is one of the genuine representatives of the Generation of the Thirties, to which he belonged in terms of age, due to the folk roots of his art, which mix tradition with modernism.
The corner of his studio near the Acropolis is depicted in the microcosm of Webster Street, which effectively captures the painter's universe. An ancient mirror on one wall, in the space between two openings, reflects an incomplete painting of a lone chair resting on the sand by the sea. One of Spyros Vassiliou's favorite subjects to paint in his villa is Eretria.
A different painting shows the view of the Acropolis from his home, with all the more recent structures on the ground floor. One of Spyros Vassiliou's favorite themes was the contrast between the old, exquisite neoclassical structures and the modern, tacky mass apartment constructions that were starting to take over Athens. Two balcony doors to the right and left of the wall expose the genuine splendor of the Herodion and the Acropolis. Gold leaves are covering the sky. Paintings within paintings, reflections of works in the mirror, and many enclosures combine to create a vision that has long captivated artists, particularly the Mannerists of the 16th century. Spyros Vassiliou conveys the ethereal nature of the Attic light through precise design and delicate atmospheric colors. Beside the stillness of the white wall, golden ochres, and complementing blues engage in conversation.
The newly restored National Gallery has a total of 20,760 square meters of space and features vast spaces for temporary exhibitions, a computerized information center in the entry hall, and wide rooms with glass facades. The unique Art History Library and the studios for conservation, wood restoration, and paper conservation are significant. The 1,000 pieces from its treasures permanent show take up many square meters. Be aware that out of the 20,000 paintings accessible, only roughly 1,000 paintings make up the Gallery's permanent show.
The Gallery features adequately furnished areas, including modern conservation laboratories, executive offices, and a library that is spread out over two floors. It also features two café-restaurants, the second of which is located on the top floor and offers expansive views of the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill, and the Saronic Gulf.
The National Gallery's garden was planted with resilience and sustainability as guiding concepts. Ninety-nine species of plants, mostly native and non-native, that have adapted to the region's natural circumstances and been assimilated into the Greek cultural legacy are present in the planting area, which covers 2,287 m2.
If you love Greek culture, a visit to the National Gallery is a must! Acropolis View Hotel is very close to National Gallery, but also to many other Greek monuments. Enjoy your stay at our hotel and let the Greek heritage enchant you!
Photo source: www.spyrosvassiliou.org