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Heroes of the 1821 Revolution Adorn Athens’ National Garden

Heroes of revolution
Portraits of 1821 heroes displayed at the National garden. Credit: National Historical Museum

The open-air exhibition in Athens titled ‘History Has A Face’ is already in progress in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence.

As of February 8, the portraits of 22 heroes of the 1821 Revolution adorn the National Garden wall facing Vasilissis Sofias Avenue.

The exhibition is one of the many celebratory projects in Greece and other parts of the world for the 200th Anniversary of the 1821 Revolution.

The project is in collaboration with the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, the National Historical Museum, and the Municipality of Athens.

The open-air event presents 22 portraits among the 320 unique faces sketched by Benjamin Mary (1792-1846), a Belgian diplomatic representative in Greece.

The portraits were drawn mainly in Athens, between 1839 and 1844. They are exhibited for the first time, introducing known and unknown faces of the Greek War of Independence.

Through the sensitive and penetrating gaze of a European artist, fighters, politicians, priests, scholars, philhellenes, and everyday people are portrayed by Benjamin Mary.

The Belgian diplomat had managed to capture expressions in a unique moment in history when Greeks went to the liberation war shouting ‘Liberty or Death.’

Among the faces gazing from the National Garden wall are Theodoros Kolokotronis, Nikitaras, Lampros Kountouriotis, Ioannis Makrygiannis, Giannakis Hadjipetrou.

Also, George Finlay, Panos Notaras, Kolettis, Nikolaos Petimezas, Markos Botsaris, and others are exhibited.

More historical data, as well as information about the depicted persons, are contained in the publication “History has a face – Figures of 1821 in Otto’s Greece.”

It is a compilation of Benjamin Mary’s work, published by the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation and the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece.

Greek War of Independence
Portraits of 1821 heroes displayed at the National garden. Credit: National Historical Museum

Freedom Time: The Watches of the Fighters of ’21

The 1821 Revolution fighters’ pocket watches are presented in a separate exhibition at the National Historical Museum.

“Freedom Time: The Watches of the Fighters of ’21” is a glimpse back in time, literally and figuratively.

The watches were worn before, during, and after the Greek War of Independence, counting the fighters’ anxiety and dangers.

The precious watches belonged to the protagonists of the War of Independence: Theodoros Kolokotronis Petrobey Mavromichalis, Markos Botsaris, Kanellos Diligiannis, and others.

The invaluable timekeepers are exhibited along with other personal items and documents, revealing more about those brave Greeks’ personalities.

A separate section is about the man who was sent to Switzerland to learn the art of watchmaking by the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapoidistrias.

Through Kapodistrias’ personal belongings, the story of the ordering of the valuable gifts that he offered to Kolokotronis and other Fighters of ’21 is revealed.

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