Gods, Myths & Mortals

Lose yourself in a wolrd that explores the earliest prehistory, to the Classical and Hellenistic years; from the Roman era, to the end of the Byzantine period; and from the centuries of foreign rule, up to the revolutionary revival of 1821, and the founding of the Modern Greek state through our Gods, Myths & Mortals exhibition.

The exhibition, on long-term lease from Athens’ renowned Benaki Museum, brings 8,000 years of Greek civilisation to Melbourne – highlighting the unbroken continuation and unity of Hellenism. Aspects of everyday life and different sides of religious expression are presented together with documents about the social and political organisation, in order to record the narrative that can be read within the development of Greek civilisation.

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ONEIROI – Bill Henson

Explore the intrinsic cultural connectivity that an individual has with history, and engage in the importance of dialogue between the past and the present with Bill Henson’s bespoke photographic installation, ONEIROI. 

The exhibition, a unique collaboration between the Hellenic Museum, Benaki Museum and artist, Bill Henson was made possible with the support of Robert Buckingham. It sets out to inspire discussion about what it means to be custodians of an ancient past and it captures the way in which our history, culture and art shape the way in which we view ourselves today. Similar to the treasures selected by Bill Henson from our award winning Benaki Museum collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals, the photographs that form ONEIROI are unique without editions, reflecting the nature of the Benaki treasures which they incorporate.

Henson’s unique style uses composition, chiaroscuro and the human form to create powerful, narrative driven works of art.

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Witness the uncovering of faces out from behind the masks, as rituals of eight rural villages in Northern Greece are brought sharply into the present in Nikos Vavdinoudis’ photographic series, Faces + Masks

The exhibition, presented in conjuction with Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, features modern costumed practices and obscure, fascinating rituals that have their origins in ancient Dionysian celebrations. These ancient festivities are now celebrated during the Christian holiday of Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ and the particular practices of these villages are known for their elaborate, animalistic costumes. The subsummation of ancient or pagan festivals into newer religious ones is a practice adopted by many religions; thereby allowing the dialogue between the ancient past and the present to remain virtually unbroken. 

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Cypriot Pottery

Gain a unique historical perspective of Cypriot society and daily life from the Middle Bronze Age through the entirety of the Iron Age with Mary and Peter Mitrakas’ private collection of ancient Cypriot pottery containing artefacts from nearly 1,500 years of Cypriot history.

The exhibition, on long-term lease from Mary and Peter Mitrakas, features 77 well-preserved pieces ranging from simple bowls and jugs to large scale storage and funerary amphora. 

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The Art of Adornment: Greek Jewellery of the 17th to 19th Centuries

Fall in love with a tale that goes beyond just the wearing of jewellery, with The Art of Adornment: Greek Jewellery from the 17th to 19th Centuries collection which features items that were said to bring the wearer good luck, enhance fertility, and ward of evil spirits for protection and prosperity.

The exhibition, on long-term lease from Athens’ renowned Benaki Museum, spans 300 years and includes over 90 exquisite and intricate objects which highlight the artistry involved in jewellery making throughout this period, as well as portraits in the gallery showing how these items were worn. The exhibition was launched in 2016 as part of Melbourne’s Spring Fashion Week. 

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Cast Ancient Greek Statues

Be greeted by the collection of cast statues that adorn the entrance of our Museum. 

The exhibition, on long-term lease from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Greek National Archaeological Museum, showcases sculptures from different epochs of Ancient Greece including The Youth of Antikythera (ca 340 - 330 BCE), Aphrodite of Milos (late 2nd century BCE), Zeus of Artemision (ca 450 BCE), The Diadem Wearer (Roman copy (ca 10 BCE) of a Greek bronze original (450-425 BCE), Hermes and the Infant Dionysos (late 4th century BCE), Delphi Charioteer (ca 480 BC) and Kouros of Volomandra (ca. 570-560 BC).

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