Board of directors
President of the Board
Vice President of the Board
Syrago Tsiara is an art historian and curator. She was appointed as the Director of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum in July 2022.
The Collection Directorate
The National Gallery collections comprise approximately 20,000 works of painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, new media and decorative arts, which span the history of Greek art from the post-Byzantine period to date. The collections are chronologically organized.
Our staff are happy to answer enquiries about the collections of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum. Authenticity certificates or valuations on works of art privately owned cannot be provided, neither are opinions given in support of attributions and/or valuations.
The departments are structured according to the content with the respective curators in charge.
Modern Greek Painting, 19th century
Modern Greek Painting, Early 20th century until 1940
Modern Greek Painting, After 1945 and New Media
Western European Painting
Modern Greek and European Sculpture
Modern Greek and European Prints
Art Work Inventory Office
Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art
In 1990, the Conservation Department was founded. Among its aims and objectives is the preventive conservation and preservation of the National Gallery’s works of art and the development and application of new methods of research, analysis and treatment.
The Department consists of the following laboratories:
Conservation Studio of paintings on canvas and wood panel
The studio was established on 1910 with Giorgos Hatzopoulos being the first conservator.
The main aims are:
- The restoration and conservation of the works of art of the collection of the National Gallery
- The safe handling, movement, hanging and exhibition of them
- The control of the environmental conditions (temperature and relative humidity) at the storage and the exhibition areas of the museum
The staff consists of 7 highly qualified conservators of works of art. The studio allocates modern equipments such as a high pressure table, a low pressure table, microscopes, high safety storage units for the organic solvents.
The studio is considered pioneer in the field of conservation of works of art in Greece and maintains important files upon on the interventions of restoration of works of art of the collection of the National Gallery, where are assembled and proved the richest experience and know-how in the active and preventive conservation.
Moreover, it is an important center of the preservation of the national cultural heritage, hosting consistently students for their placements from faculties in Greece and abroad, contributing in their scientific completion through the spreading of knowledge, while develops the research in the field of new materials and methods, trying at the same time to keep on working with the traditional materials and methods.
Paper conservation studio
The Paper Conservation studio was organized in 1994 to protect and conserve art on paper belonging to the collection of the National Gallery of Greece. This includes drawings, gouaches, watercolors, pastels, posters, documents, engravings, architectural drawings etc.
Within those years plenty of artwork ascribed to famous Greek artists has been treated. Among them are engravings of Tassos, Galanis and Katraki, Drawings of great painters, such as Iakovides, Lytras, Gysis and Parthenis. Furthermore, artefacts of foreign artists, such as, Kratzeizen’ s and Lautrec’ s lithographs, Bosche’ s, Rembrandt’s and Goya’ s engravings, also, Ziller’ s watercolors and architectural drawings.
In addition to the conservation of the damaged objects of the National Gallery and the preparation of exhibitions housed there, the studio makes condition reports and prepares items for external exhibitions. Also inspects and monitors the climatic conditions of selected branches of the museum related to the studio.
The current practice of the Paper Conservation studio follows this of the European Conservation centers. Using the most advanced techniques, the Paper Conservation studio focuses more on preservation, ensuring the expanding of the artefact’s lifetime, than their aesthetic restoration.
Sculpture conservation laboratory
The Sculpture Conservation Studio was established in 1997, and since 2008 it is housed in the National Glyptotheque. Its aim is the conservation, restoration, protection and promotion of the sculpture collection, which consists of works made by Greek, mainly, artists, by both traditional and modern materials. The collection also includes an important number of original plaster sculptures and casts, which are especially taken care of.
The methodology followed for the conservation of the sculptures starts with checking their condition and the determination of their decay agents, for which, physicochemical analytical techniques or examination methods are often used. Then, modern techniques and suitable materials are applied for the conservation of the works. The laboratory is fully equipped with the necessary devices and tools for the conservation of contemporary sculpture, has a gas –dust absorbing system installed and a special cabinet for the storage of chemicals.
The laboratory has already participated in two research programmes concerning the cleaning of plaster works and casts using laser technologies, as well as to a programme concerning the effect of atmospheric pollutants on the deterioration of outdoor sculptures. The research interests of the laboratory include the effect of the particulate matter on sculptures in the museum environment and the study of protecting materials for bronze sculptures.
Laboratory of physicochemical analysis and research
The role of science to the study and the protection of antiquities and works of art has finally been recognised. The width and the validity of the information obtained by physicochemical observation and analysis is such that enables:
- the complete identification of materials and manufacture technique
- objective determination of the preservation condition and diagnosis of the artefact’s pathology
Now, we are in the position of resynthesizing the artist’s palette, revealing the successive steps of creation and determining the combinations of materials in each position and gradation. We can distinguish from the first under-drawing up to the last stroke of the artist. Thus, the artist’s ‘writing’ is reviving and revealing.
The most prominent methods of observation and analysis are available at the Physicochemical Laboratory of the National Gallery, which in conjunction, they offer a huge volume of valid information capable of leading to safe conclusions for all the above mentioned.
The imaging techniques, which use spectral bands besides the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, are a powerful tool for the study of artefacts and the choice of the proper conservation treatment.
The development of the multispectral imaging systemMuSISTM, which has the ability to record the reflection and the fluorescence under the ultraviolet, visible and infrared regions (up to 1550nm), gave a new boost towards that direction.
The practical use and the great advantage of this arrangement, lays on the fact that in a few minutes, the following can be achieved:
a. precise and valid recording and documentation
b. revealing of invisible elements (underlying paint layers, signatures, under-drawings, etc)
c. detection and limitation of areas that have been damaged or restored in the past
d. evaluation of the composition and the manufacture technique
This method focuses on the study of suitably prepared micro-samples (surface area less than a few μm2) under an optical-metallographic microscope. With simple observation, the stratigraphy of the sample can be studied and thus information regarding the artist’s manufacture technique can be obtained.
However, the main area of interest is the microscopic study of the staining and fluorescence of the cross-sections. With these methods, the nature of the binding materials used in the different paint layers can be determined. Consequently, it is possible to ascertain, whether the binder is of proteinaceous origin, such as egg yolk/ white, animal glue, or of lipid origin, such as linseed oil, turpentine oil or even mixture of both. This method acting supplementary to other analytical methods can be an excellent tool for the conservator and the art historian.
The determination and identification of the organic materials used in works of art (binding medium of pigments, glue of the preparation layer and varnish) is necessary for the complete study of the technique of each artist. On the other hand, the organic materials are the ones which imprint all the changes and evolution of styles, while they are the means that can give definite information about the ageing mechanisms of the artefacts and their interaction with the environment.
The chromatographic techniques and especially Gas Chromatography (Autosystem XL, model 8700, Perkin Elmer), which is available at the Laboratory of Physicochemical Research and Analysis of the National Gallery, in conjunction with the pyrolysis system (CDS Pyroprobe 1000), proves to be the one of the most suitable analytical methods for the determination of the chemical composition and provenance of the artefact’s organic materials.
Spectroscopic methods are extensively used for the identification of inorganic and organic materials based on the energy of atomic bonds. It is proved that especially the mid-infrared region (4000-400cm-1) provides useful information contributing to the identification of pigments, fillers, varnishes, etc. Furthermore, it allows the analysis of natural and synthetic materials that are used for the conservation of paintings and sculptures. The application-friendly FTIR Spectrometer that is available at the Laboratory of Physicochemical Research achieves the analysis of micro-samples without former treatment by means of ATR equipment.
Administration and Finance Directorate
The Administration and Finance Directorate is responsible for the administrative organization and the financial management of the National Gallery contributing to its smooth operation.
It consists of the following organic units:
Deputy Administrative and Finance Officer
Personnel and Operations
Zografia – Anastasia Giakouvaki
Register Office (Working hours: 08.00 – 16.00)