CULTURE

Show to go on with extra security

The last exhibition scheduled to go on display before the Greek National Gallery in Athens closes its doors for major refurbishment is going ahead. Featuring works by major Greek and international artists stemming from the A.G. Leventis collection, the show is scheduled to take place in March.

Following the recent robbery at the state museum on January 9, when works including Pablo Picasso?s early period ?Head of a Woman? were stolen by unidentified thieves, a number of changes will be made to improve the security of the building.

According to Kathimerini sources, the A.G. Leventis Foundation will be contributing to cover the cost of extra security staff. In a recent statement regarding the artworks? theft, Greek National Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka admitted that to date only two guards took turns during the gallery?s night shifts.

The bulk of the A.G. Leventis art collection comprises 191 works which Anastasios G. Leventis had purchased from Greek politician Evangelos Averoff back in 1973. In more recent years the collection was enriched through the addition of another 40 works. Overall, the collection?s oil paintings, watercolors and etchings reflect the development of Greek paintings from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, while also including a number of works by major international masters such as Marc Chagall, Canaletto and Claude Monet, among others.

According to museum experts, the highly publicized robbery could cause major damage to the Greek cultural institution, as it increases the possibility of foreign museums refusing to loan works for temporary exhibitions at the National Gallery in the future. Speaking to Kathimerini, security experts noted that the intruders targeted the National Gallery after detecting flaws in its security system. They also stressed that systems employed by nearby museums such as the Benaki Museum, the Byzantine