Modern Greek arrives at the Louvre

Thousands of visitors travel to the Louvre each year to admire its treasures, many just to see the famous Venus de Milo or the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The Louvre is home to some of the most important masterpieces of ancient Greek art, which is probably why Alain Pasquier, director of the Louvre’s department of Greek and Roman antiquities, felt that the explanatory material provided to the visitors of the Greek antiquities exhibition halls should also be displayed in Greek. Together with the Greek-born archaeologist Alice Samara-Kauffmann, who used to work in the same department at the Louvre, Pasquier initiated the project of having all the explanatory material translated into modern Greek. The Ioannis F. Costopoulos Foundation and the Karelia tobacco company are the exclusive financial sponsors of this project whose completion will be celebrated today at the Louvre. This is the first time that a museum outside Greece has made all the explanatory material concerning Greek antiquities available in Modern Greek. Pasquier felt that the lack of such material was an omission that should be corrected, especially since the Modern Greek language is the continuation of that – Homer’s language, in the words of Pasquier – spoken by the same civilization that created the Greek antiquities. The explanatory material is written by museum specialists in Greek antiquities and provides detailed and lengthy historical and cultural information on each holding. (Samara-Kauffmann translated most of the essays, while Alexandra Kardianou-Michelle and Epi Vandorou also worked on the project). Out of the roughly 300 explanatory leaflets that exist throughout the museum, 57 concern Greek antiquities. Their inclusion in Greek is an unusual gesture of cultural significance.