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Year of Diamantis Diamantopoulos at the Historical Museum of Crete

The Society of Cretan Historical Studies announces the opening, on Saturday 17 March at 19:00, at the Historical Museum of Crete, of the temporary exhibition TERATOLOGIES. The History of Man, with works by pioneering 20th-century painter Diamantis Diamantopoulos, from the Modern Art Collection of collector Zacharias Portalakis.

This is the third annual exhibition co-organized by the SCHS and Zacharias Portalakis, after Divinity, (dis)continued (with works by Parthenis, Tsarouchis, Stamos and Kapralos) and Dialogue with the Invisible (with works by Jannis Spyropoulos), in the same room, next to the permanent exhibition of the Post-Byzantine Icon Collection (15th-early 20th century) donated by Mr Portalakis to the Society of Cretan Historical Studies.

A painter, sculptor and stage designer, Diamantis Diamantopoulos is a singular case of a modern Greek artist who serves art while always remaining fully conscious of its social role and the violent class and institutional clashes that shake society as a whole. The Historical Museum of Crete exhibition presents nine selected works from the Zacharias Portalakis Modern Art Collection [Colour Study, The Infants, The Man Killed to Death, Teratology 12, Teratology 14, Teratology 16 (The Mother), Teratology 18, Teratology 19 and Teratology 20]. These works belong to perhaps the most controversial group of the painter’s works, which he called “The History of Man” or “Teratologies”. They were created in the crucial postwar era, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, over a period of 30 years, during which the artist returned to them obsessively with frequent interventions. The “Teratologies” were strongly criticised when they were exhibited at the Ora Arts and Cultural Centre in Athens (1980), and continue to attract the attention of both specialists and non-specialists thanks to the ingenious painting language that Diamantopoulos proposes in them. 

Printed Matter

The Historical Museum exhibition is accompanied by a free bilingual leaflet (Greek & English) and a luxury bilingual catalogue (Greek & English), including three in-depth studies by art historians Emmnouil Mavrommatis, Professor Emeritus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Antonis Kotidis, Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Manos Stefanidis, Associate Professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The publications were designed by Dimitris Kalokyris, a long-standing associate of the Historical Museum of Crete.


Exhibition Curators

The exhibition was designed and organised by the scientific, administrative and technical staff of the Museum, under the direction of Alexis Kalokerinos. The exhibition curators are Denise-Chloe Alevizou, Angeliki Baltatzi and Despina Pertselaki.


Sponsors

Special thanks are due to the Region of Crete and the Α. & Μ. Kalokerinos Foundation, firm supporters of the work of the SCHS.

Official Opening

On the opening night, art historians Emm. Mavrommatis and M. Stefanidis will present the work of Diamantis Diamantopoulos in the Yannis Pertselakis Amphitheatre of the Historical Museum of Crete. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the exhibition by Mr Mavrommatis. The exhibition will be opened by Mr Stavros Arnaoutakis, the Regional Governor of Crete. 

Parallel Events

The Year of Diamantis Diamantopoulos at the Historical Museum of Crete will also include spoken and musical events, and free educational programmes for both schoolchildren and adults, one of the fundamental responsibilities of the SCHS.

A few words about Diamantis Diamantopoulos

Diamantis Diamantopoulos was born in 1914 in Magnesia in Asia Minor. His works were first exhibited in 1930, attracting the interest of luminaries including Pikionis and Terzakis. In 1931 he entered the Athens School of Fine Arts and studied under Parthenis. In 1946 he participated in a group exhibition of Greek artists in London, followed by another in 1947 at the Rhombus Gallery in Athens with Gounaropoulos, Kanellis, Moralis, Vakalo and Asteriades. In 1950 he taught at Angeliki Hatzimichali’s Greek House, deciding in the same year to “fall silent” as far as exhibiting was concerned and devote himself exclusively to his work (with the exception of the group exhibition For Cyprus, at the House of Arts and Letters in 1964). In 1975, Asantour Bacharian of the Ora Arts and Cultural Centre persuades him to organise a large-scale exhibition there. Diamantopoulos’s works provoke general astonishment, placing him among the finest Greek artists of his generation. In 1977 he participated in an international exhibition in Belgrade, while in 1978 the National Art Gallery organised a major retrospective (1930-1978) with 311 of his works. He took part in Europalia in 1982 and the Venice Biennale in 1983. He died on 6 June 1995.