Museum of Modern Greek Art
The elongated, elliptical square directly to the south of the aquarium (officially named Plateia Gabriel Haritos, after the first Mayor of Rhodes ), is lined with young palm-trees which replace the original ones planted during the Italian Occupation, after which the square took its commoner name, ‘Square of the Hundred Palms’. The square, with eight radiating streets, was part of the New Urban Plan for Rhodes drawn up in 1926 aimed at de veloping a new administrative and residential area to the north of the Old City. In a large building on the eastern side of the square is the Museum of Modern Greek Art which incorporates the collection of the former ‘Art Gallery of Rhodes ’ (open Tues–Sat 8–2, Fri also open 5–8).
The collection is well displayed over two floors: the first floor dedicated to Masters of 19th and 20th century Greek Art, and the upper floor to Contemporary painting in Greece. The first shows the constant tension within early modern Greek painting between those who worked within a European (predominantly French-influenced) academic tradition on the one hand, and the voice of a more distinctly Greek, ‘folk’ tradition, often of a consciously naif character, on the other. Notable amongst the first group are: two striking portraits (one of the novelist, Alexander Papadiamantis) by Photis Kontoglou—creator of the wall-paintings in the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation by Mandraki harbour; several nature studies and landscapes by Lytras, Thomopolis, Ghyka and Maleas; and some more specifically Rhodian landscapes by Valias Semertzidis. Among the sec ond group are: par excellence—a number of historical paintings by Theophilos, as well as his more lyrical Erotokritos and Aretousa; a series of unusual and technically interesting, Byzantinizing pieces of the 1940s by Spyros Vasiliou, in tempera on paper with accompanying poetic texts in beautiful calligraphy; and three whimsical figure-studies by Yannis Tsarouchis from successive periods of his development.
Several of the most prominent and distinctive artistic personalities of contemporary Greek Art—Alekos Fassianos and Yannis Gaitis—are represented on the upper floor. But, although a bold variety of techniques is represented among the other recent works exhibited on this floor, the tendency towards abstraction has inevitably meant a loss of recognizably Greek identity.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.