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Greek Poet Odysseas Elytis Honored With New Museum in Athens

Oysseas Elytis
A new museum dedicated to Odysseas Elytis will open in Plaka, Athens. Credit: Public Domain

The opening of a new museum in Athens to preserve and display the work of Greek Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis was announced on Thursday.

Elytis is regarded as one of Greece’s major poets and a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and worldwide. In 1979, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and most of his works have been translated into many languages.

The new museum dedicated to Elytis will be located in Plaka, a neighborhood in Athens. The Ministry of Culture and Sport will convert one of its buildings, plus a number of auxiliary buildings, into a museum space, as part of broader plans to assign “interesting examples of Athenian architecture” to cultural uses.

Odysseas Elytis Museum to open in Plaka

The decision to create a new exhibition space for the Greek poet was confirmed with a Memorandum of Cooperation which was signed by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni and the President of the Board of the Urban Non-Profit Ioulita Iliopoulou of the AERTON company.

Work to restore the building that will eventually become the museum – which is located between  Dioskouroi and Polygnotou streets – began back in December 2020 and is expected to be completed sometime in the summer of this year.

The building will have designated areas for displaying the exhibits and showcasing important visual material that highlights his diverse work. The life of the poet will be presented in a vivid way using photos, texts, audio, and visual material. A separate space will be used for the Elytis Archive, where important materials relating to the poet will be stored and preserved.

Odysseus Elytis Museum
Building where the Odysseus Elytis Museum will be. Credit: YPPOA

Comments on the upcoming museum

On Thursday, Linda Mendoni commented on the planned museum and explained that “From September 2019, our strategy is to highlight and assign cultural uses to buildings – interesting examples of Athenian urban architecture – which prove the historical continuity of the capital, constituting poles of interest for the visitors of the city of Athens.”

“In this context, recognizing the great contribution of the leading Greek, Nobel laureate, we are creating the Odysseas Elytis Museum, which will house the work of the poet who bowed to the sources of Greekness, while at the same time, he was the first to accept the revolutionary theories of the modern movement,” Mendoni continued.

“The Elytis Museum in Plaka will give visitors the opportunity to come into contact with the poet’s aesthetics, austere life, and his perception of Art,” concluded the minister.

Ioulita Iliopoulou also commented, “The fact of creating an exhibition and study space for Odysseas Elytis is particularly important and moving for me. A house that will house something from the material part of his life, something from the aesthetics and frugality that he represented. I thank the Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni for her decision to realize an idea that had been pending for years. I hope it will be beneficial for everyone.”

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