The Acropolis Museum, in a rare and important partnership, has joined with the Onassis Foundation, a major supporter of cultural and educational programmes for the past 42 years, to co-organize the exhibition Emotions, initially presented with great success at the Onassis Cultural Foundation in New York.
Emotions is a narrative exhibition that illuminates the inner world of emotions in the personal, social and political life of the ancient world. Touring the exhibition represents a tempestuous journey into the human soul, whose passions are expressed through the lens of ancient art. Exhibits gathered from the world’s leading museums, under the watchful eye of the Acropolis Museum, highlight the array of feelings found in the artistic works of ancient Greece. Many of the exhibits are unique artefacts, never before seen in Greece, while numerous others come from Greek museums and are now brought forward for the first time into the light of international attention.
The visitor's course is marked by an enormous spiral of upright vinyl banners in many shades of red – from delicate pink to deepest crimson – which symbolically reflect the range and intensity of emotions. At the same time, the spiral embraces two central exhibits: the dazzling statues of Eros (Love) and Pothos (Longing) who stand amid a profusion of light; while, opposite, in a dark recess, an illuminated wall painting portrays the Sacrifice of Iphigenia, in which we see strong feelings of guilt, despair and anticipation. The exhibit’s additional 126 displays are positioned between the red spiral and a gray backdrop that noticeably softens the intensity of the red, corresponding symbolically to the rational side of the soul.
Main thematic sections include: The Art of Emotions - Emotions in Art, The Spaces of Emotions with the sub-sections "Private Space", "Battlefield", "Public Space", "Sacred Spaces" and "Necropolis", Conflicting emotions, Uncontrolled emotions and Medea.
The Emotions exhibition also features 11 videos that enhance the visitor’s experience. Located beside particular original artefacts, they provide images and brief texts to elucidate the complex, dramatic myths painted in multiple scenes on vases.