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|On the South of the University stands
the magnificent edifice of the Academy, called Sinaia
from the name of its founder Baron Sina, rich greek banker
of Vienna who spent about three millions frs for its construction.
It was built from 1859 – 1885 over the plans of the Danish
architect Theophil Hansen. The Academy is a construction
according to the ancient, ionic style with porticos and pediments
decorated with statues and gildings. The polychromy of which
we spoke at large in our "Introduction" and elsewhere
offers here, as well as in the University, a splendid model
of the brilliant application that was made of it in Antiquity.
In front of the facade stand two high ionic columns, which bear the
colossal statues of Athena and Apollo, sculptured by the Prof.
J. Drossis, who has also made in the pediment of the facade The
birth of Athens. All these statues are of marble, while those of the
pediments on the exterior wall of the two wings are of terra cotta.
Marble branched chandeliers set off with gildings and colours form,
with the seated statues of Socrates and Platon, a monumental
decoration of the principal facade. The Academy of sciences, with
its classic style and the richness of its ornaments, is a handsome
imitation of the classic monuments, but it cannot resist the comparison
of these immortal works, because the marble in the hands of the ancient
artist was like the wax; it was animated, palpitating. We could feel
within it the blood circulate, the life!… Opposite the principal
entrance, a large hall opens sumptuously decorated: the Hall of Meetings,
in the middle of which, stands the statue of the donor Baron Sina.
All round, on the top of the walls, the Myth of Prometheus
is developed in eight large pictures, executed by the painter Christ
Griepenkerl from Vienna. (From left to right): I picture, Themis
predicting the future to her son Prometheus. II picture, the Hours
(Orai), opening the bronze doors of the Palace of Helios.
The Aurora (Eos), followed by a dew of spirits, advances before
the chariot of Phoebus, while Prometheus accompanied by Athena
lights his torch in the fireof the god of light. III picture, Prometheus
gives life to the man he created. IV picture, Zeus aided by
his daughter and other divinities of Olympos defeat the Titans
who revolted against him. V picture, Prometheus brings the fire to
men. V picture, Prometheus for his bold action against the will of
Jupiter, is chained on mount Caucasus; an eagle eats his liver during
the day, which is restored every night. The Oceanides, daughters
of the Ocean, weep for the terrible fate of the Titan. VII
picture, Heracles delivers Prometheus. VIII picture, the Entrance
of Prometheus into Olympos, where he is heartily welcommed by all
gods and goddesses. In the Academy are situated the offices of the
compiling of the historical Dictionary (Istorikon Lexikon), are sheltered
in it, the Anthropological Museum and below: The historical archives.
In the year 1923, thanks to the initiative of the late Prof. Eginitis,
minister of public instruction, under the dictatorship of General
Pangalos, The Hellenic Academy was founded, consisting of forty ordinary
members and many other extraordinary and corresponding. From the other
side of the University (in the North) rises the National Library built
at the expenses of the brothers Valianos natives of Cephalonia, over
the plans of Theophil Hansen and under the survey of the achitect
Ernest Ziller. This magnificent construction consists of one central
building in the form of a Greek temple of doric order and of two wings,
(on the S. and on the N.), the whole of pentelic marble with a basement
o poros. The National Library was founded in 1833 under king
Othon; its first director was the illustrious Prof. G. Gennadios.
In 1842 it was transported to the first story of the University of
Athens, where it remained until the completion of the present construction
(1903). The interior is of extreme magnificence. The two large reading
halls shelter more than 450,000 books and pamphlets, of which 2500
are precious incunabula. The Cabinet of manuscripts under the direction
of Prof. Kouyeas contains 3500 manuscripts, among which a Gospel
of the XI th cent. with admirable prints; two Gospels of the IX th
cent. and another of the XIV cent., that the Emperor John Katacouzenos
always bore in his bosom (engolpion); a great number of archives of
the hellenic War of Independence and many Engravings.
The statues of the brothers Valianos are one before the facade and
the two others in the vestibule.
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See also: museums,