The research program aims to gather extensively into a database the writings of the most important Greek art critics of the 20th century. It intends to create an archive which will provide researchers, through a multiple and flexible search system, not only with a bibliographical record of the material, but also with the actual texts of art criticism (in form of digitized reproduction) so as to offer the possibility of their direct reading.
The function of art criticism as an autonomous form of critical discourse is multiple. It mediates directly for the perception of the art work by the public, it constitutes a channel of communication with the artist, and it shapes the relationships between artists and artistic institutions. Depending on its authority and the extent of its readability it has the ability of intervening in the process of art-making: it may have an impact on the artists' choices, favor and accelerate their acceptance or marginalisation, introduce styles, new media and techniques etc. It is a critical discourse in dialogue with the artists, intersecting with art-producing itself, and constituting a creative factor within the overall function of art. However, beyond its direct connection with art production and its reception, art criticism also functions as a carrier of wider theoretical trends and ideological stances which express and simultaneously co-shape the intellectual and cultural orientation of the public.
Art criticism appeared in Greece already in late 19th and the early 20th century, as a consequence of a growing art production and exhibition activity, and gradually gained a permanent position in the daily press and literary and cultural magazines' columns. Art critics with a university degree in archaeology or art history emerged in the 1930s, claiming the field of art criticism from journalists and literature writers. After World War II the founding of the Greek Department of the International Association of Art Critics (A.I.C.A.) marked, institutionally this time, the vital role of art criticism within the Greek artistic scene.
Provided that in the field of art, from the late 19th century onwards, the predominant criterion was the notion of the "new" (regarding mostly morphological features) art criticism did not come to add superfluous opinions on relations between art works and their public, but to fill the notional gap produced by the refusal of modernist artists to align their work with familiar and accessible styles and their radical counter-suggestion for avant-garde revisions of visual experience.
The study of art criticism constitutes an integral research field within the history of art, which has not as yet been approached systematically. Its material has been so far treated as of secondary importance and it is used selectively in order to document the views of art historians, without being examined per se within its historical dimensions (in relation to the past and contemporary critical discourse), thus leaving unexploited crucial information for the multiple understanding of artistic phenomena, their reception and their connection to the wider ideological and social trends of different historical periods.
This IMS research program under the title Art criticism in Greece aims to gather extensively into a database the writings of the most important Greek art critics of the 20th century. It intends to create an archive which will provide researchers, through a multiple and flexible search system, not only with a bibliographical record of the material, but also with the actual texts of art criticism (in form of digitized reproduction) so as to offer the possibility of their direct reading. It also provides an archive of all reproductions of art works (also in digitized form) that had been published together with the texts. The possibility of conducting combined search covers the need of posing specialized questions. If for example the researcher is interested in finding which writers refer to the painter G. Bouzianis in the year 1955 or if (and in which specific articles) the art critic Anghelos Procopiou refers to abstract expressionism, s/he can pose the respective questions. In the case of texts that comment on art exhibitions, the database also provides identification of all art works mentioned in the text via their reference number in the exhibition catalogue (provided of course that such a catalogue had indeed been published and traced in the National Gallery Library or the National Library) so as to render easier the collation of comments on the same exhibition by different art critics. In addition, indexes of people's names (artists, art theorists, writers etc.), places, museums and galleries, institutions, as well as basic notions and terminology, offer the possibility of easily tracking them down in the texts (by title of publication, number of volume, issue and page). Furthermore, curricula vitae and bibliography of all publications of each art critic complete the information that can be drawn from the database.
Academic supervisor Evgenios D. Matthiopoulos (Professor of History of Western Art, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete)
Up to now the following data have been entered into the database:
In addition, a collection of articles by art critics and art historians, in the form of digitized reproduction, has been completed and will currently be entered in the database. The afore mentioned collection includes articles by Marinos Kalligas (To Vima, 1947-1967), Nikos Alexiou (To Vima, 1956-1960), Dimitris Evanghelidis (Ta Nea, 1957-1960), Efi Ferentinou (Eleftheria, 1957-1961), Manolis Chatzidakis (To Vima, 1957-1965), as well as the art historical and critical articles in the magazines Techni (1938), Elliniki Dimiourgia (1948-1954), Nees Morfes (1962) and Zygos (1962-1965).
The program aims to gradually enrich the material with the art criticism of Nicolaos Episkopopoulos, Pavlos Nirvanas, D. I. Kalogeropoulos, Pericles Giannopoulos, Spyros Melas, Anastasios Drivas, Fotos Giofyllis, Veatriki Spiliadi and others.
Ευγένιος Δ. Ματθιόπουλος, «‘Lettres de Paris’: La réception de l’art contemporain dans le champ de la critique d’art à Athènes dans l’entre deux-guerres», στο Lucile Arnoux-Farnoux και Polina Kosmadaki (επιμ.), Le double voyage: Paris-Athènes, 1919 – 1939, πρακτικά συνεδρίου (Αθήνα, Μουσείο Μπενάκη / Institute Française d'Athènes, 19 - 21Ιανουαρίου 2012), Αθήνα: École française d’Athènes, 2018, 107-119.
Ευγένιος Δ. Ματθιόπουλος, «Η ‘γενιά του ’30’ στην ιστοριογραφία της νεοελληνικής τέχνης: η προβληματική χρήση ενός αδιευκρίνιστου όρου και η κατασκευή μιας ανύπαρκτης ‘γενιάς’ καλλιτεχνών», στο Ζητήματα ιστορίας, μεθοδολογίας, ιστοριογραφίας, πρακτικά συνεδρίου (Αθήνα, Μουσείο Μπενάκη, 15 - 17 Ιανουαρίου 2016), (υπό δημοσίευση). http://www.blod.gr/lectures/Pages/viewlecture.aspx?LectureID=2535
Ευγένιος Δ. Ματθιόπουλος, «La réception du symbolisme en Grèce à travers l’œuvre de Costis Parthénis pendant la période 1900 -1930», στο Catherine Méneux και Adriana Sotropa, (επιμ.), Quêtes de modernité(s) artistique(s) dans les Balkans au tournant du XXe siècle, πρακτικά συνεδρίου (Παρίσι, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, 8 - 9 Νοεμβρίου2013), Παρίσι: Ιστοσελίδα των HICSA και Centre François-Georges Pariset, 2016, 9-46. http://hicsa.univ-paris1.fr/documents/pdf/PublicationsLigne/Colloque%20Balkans/02_ 1_matthiopoulos.pdf
Λευτέρης Σπύρου, «Η δια δημοσιευμάτων μεμαρτυρημένη τεχνοκριτική ικανότητα του Ζ. Παπαντωνίου την περίοδο 1896 – 1918», στο Άρης Σαραφιανός και Παναγιώτης Ιωάννου (επιμ.), Ερευνητικά ζητήματα στην ιστορία της τέχνης: Από τον ύστερο μεσαίωνα μέχρι τις μέρες μας, πρακτικά συνεδρίου (Αθήνα, ΑΣΚΤ, 30 Νοεμβρίου - 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2012), Αθήνα: Ασίνη, 2016, 463-478.
Ευγένιος Δ. Ματθιόπουλος, «Η πρόσληψη της αφηρημένης τέχνης στην Ελλάδα (1945 – 1960), στο πεδίο της κριτικής της τέχνης», στο Νίκος Δασκαλοθανάσσης (επιμ.), Προσεγγίσεις της καλλιτεχνικής δημιουργίας από την Αναγέννηση έως τις μέρες μας, πρακτικά συνεδρίου (Αθήνα, Ανώτατη Σχολή Καλών Τεχνών, 25 - 27 Νοεμβρίου 2005), Αθήνα: Νεφέλη, 2008, 67-108.