Byzantine and Christian Museum :: The Museum .::. Archives

Photographic & Historical Archives

The Archive of Historical Documents and the Historical Photographic Archives are also part of the Museum's collections.  A great many documents and other historical testimonies give invaluable information about the founding (in 1884) and the history of the Christian Archaeological Society (XAE), and the founding and development of the Museum from the early days of the Supervisory Committee, chaired by Adamantios Adamantiou (1914-1923), up to recent years under directors Manolis Chatzedakis (1960) and Paul Lazarides (1975). 
   
One of the most important historical and photographic archives in the Museum is XAE's Photographic Archive. The creation of this archive, and indeed of the whole XAE collection, is considered the life work of its founding member George Lambakis, an outstanding photographer and a pioneer in archaeological documentation.  As is well known, the XAE collection was incorporated into the Byzantine Museum in 1923.
   
Another photographic archive was assembled later by the Director of the Byzantine Museum, George Sotiriou (1923-1960), which documents the long career of this eminent Byzantinist as an excavator and researcher in Greece, Cyprus, Sinai and at the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Constantinople.
   
Another important archive is that of the Royal Research Foundation, now known as the National Research Foundation. This was assembled by a group of Byzantinists, headed by George Sotiriou, Director of the BCM, with funding from the Foundation.  It is a systematic photographic index of Byzantine monuments and wall-paintings in Attica, Euboia, the Cyclades, the Peloponnese and Thessaly.
   
In 1964, on the occasion of the exhibition "Byzantine Art: An European Art" (Zappeio, April-June 1964) and with financial assistance from the Council of Europe, an international Photographic Archive of Byzantine Art began to be assembled. The project was never completed but it produced photographs of the exhibits from that exhibition and a large number of negatives and prints, depicting objects from other museums and collections, now in the Byzantine and Christian Museum.
   
Around the same time, in 1963, part of a collection of photographic negatives belonging to the photographer Perikles Papachatzedakis (1909-1990), mostly made up of pictures of the Meteora Monasteries, was bought.
   
Finally the archive of the Central Conservation Laboratory, which has been housed in the Museum for a number of years, contains photographic material from conservation projects on Byzantine and later monuments in Greece, revealing them as works of exceptional importance after their conservation.

The church of the Transfiguration (11th c.) at the foot of the north-eastern side of the Acropolis, Athens. Photograph Print from a glass negative BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive XAE 1475
Photograph Print from a glass negative BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive XAE 1466 The now demolished church of the Presentation in the Temple, Athens
Photograph Print from a glass negative BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive XAE 5288 View of the inner kastro (or fort) on Kimolos with islanders
The Hodegitria Church (Afendiko), Mistra (1310) Photograph BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive XAE 6667 This photograph is important evidence as to the earlier state of the monument. Restoration work was carried out between 1906 and 1908 by the Archaeological Society under its then Director Adamantios Adamantiou. The [major] study and definitive restoration of the monument was carried out by the Byzantinist Anastasios Orlandos in 1934.
George Sotiriou, Guide to the Byzantine Museum of Athens, Athens (Estia), 1931 (2nd edition) [in Greek] 156 pp., 48 black and white photographs, 8 plates extra text 20 x 14.5. cm The text is structured according to the new layout of the exhibition galleries in the Villa Ilissia, with introductory texts giving the necessary archaeological and historical information to help understand each display section.
General view of the ruined basilica of St Demetrios, Thessaloniki BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive Sotiriou Archive After the fire of 17 August 1917 George Sotiriou took on the excavation of the basilica, while the reconstruction work, which lasted nearly thirty years, began in collaboration with the architects Aristotelis Zachos and Lorenzo Thanopoulos.
Photograph BCM, Historical and Photographic Archive Sotiriou Archive George and Maria Sotiriou studying the metal and ceramic finds from the Ephesus excavations. The date "August 1922" is inscribed on the back.