National Gallery, 29/09/2009-11/01/2010


The exhibition traced the shift from Rococo to Neoclassicism through 150 rare masterpieces mostly from the Louvre but also from other museums in France and other countries. Most of these exhibits, which include paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and other luxury items, come from royal collections.
The exhibition spanned the last period of Luis XV’s reign (third quarter of the 18th century). In this short period of time, the transition from the Rococo to the austere Neoclassical style inspired by the Greek antiquity was effected. The Enlightenment provided the ideological and aesthetic context for this new style, while the excavations in in Herculaneum and Pompeii, in Southern Italy, as well as travellers’ accounts, often published in richly illustrated books, also played a significant part. Travellers and antiquarians made Antiquity very familiar.
Famous collectors of this new style who lived during that period included the Count de Caylus, the Duke de Choiseul, the Duke d’Aumont, all of whom occupied high ranks in public life during the reign of Louis XV. The palace, the King’s official mistresses (Madame de Pompadour, Madame du Barry), society ladies, intellectuals, architects and artists, but also artisans, couturiers, merchants, all adopted the new “Greek” fashion and became its advocates.
The Ambassador of the French Republic in Greece, Mr. Christophe Farnaud, and the President and Managing Director of the Louvre, Mr. Henri Loyrette, made significant contributions to the realization of this exhibition.

Exhibition Curators: Dr. Marie-Laure Rochebrune, Curator, Musée du Louvre
Dr. Nafsika Litsardopoulou, Dr. Annie Malama, Curators, National Gallery of Greece

Sponsor: National Bank of Greece, BIOTER, Aegean Airlines, Communication Sponsor: Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)