Menelaus has resolved to kill his wife in punishment for her treason. But when he finds himself face to face with her beauty once again, he throws down his sword and runs to take her in his arms. Physical beauty has the power to neutralize his anger and stir his passion. When Ajax takes on Achilles in a board game, he gets angry when he has to stare defeat in the face yet again. Annoyed, he gestures to his opponent as though trying to reason with him. But he is doomed to live his life in the shadow of his extraordinary friend—in everything from epic battles to board games. But it isn't only the leading men of the ancient myths who have emotional tales to tell. Mere mortals do, too, like the man who mourns his beloved pig when it meets a tragic end beneath the wheels of his master's chariot. A funerary stele depicting the four-wheeled chariot running the animal over is how the grief-stricken man chose to honour its memory.
The exhibition which moved and charmed the public and critics alike in the US, where it was staged at the Onassis Cultural Center, New York, has now come to Greece! On the initiative of the Onassis Foundation and in collaboration with the Acropolis Museum, the unseen world of emotions in the personal, social and political life of antiquity is brought into the light in Greece's premier museum.
“To view the exhibition is to embark on a tumultuous voyage into the soul of Man, whose passions are here expressed through the filter of ancient art. Many of the exhibits are unique art-works which are on display in Greece for the first time. Many more from Greek museums are basking in the light of international interest for the first time”, Mr Pandermalis notes
The exhibition is divided into five main sections: The first is entitled "The Art of Emotions—Emotions in Art". The second section, "The Spaces of Emotions" is divided into five sub-sections: "Private space", "The Battlefield", "Public space", "Sacred spaces" and "The place of Death". The remaining three sections are as follows: "Conflicting Emotions", "Uncontrolled Emotions" and "Medea". The exhibition also includes 11 videos which accompany exhibits and use text and images to narrate the complex, dramatic myths depicted on the pottery and help fill in the background for visitors.
Messrs Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of Ancient History and Classics in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a member of the Board of the Onassis Foundation's affiliate organization in the US; Nikolaos Kaltsas, honorary director of the National Archaeological Museum; and Ioannis Mylonopoulos, associate professor of Ancient Greek Art and Archaeology at Columbia University.