7.12.16

Helen Stathatos donor of National Archaeological Museum

Helen Stathatos (Alexandreia 1887- Athens 1982) was a member of the family of K. Konstantides, who were prosperous merchants from Siatista and was wife of the entrepreneur Antonios Stathatos. Her education and fondness for antiquity, characteristic of the prominent members of the Greek diaspora, led her to collect scattered archaeological treasures and traditional handicrafts. Her cosmopolitism formed the criteria she employed in creating an important collection ranging from the 5th millennium BC until post-Byzantine times. Her collection was held in her mansion in Herodotou St. in Athens until 1957, when she donated her post-Byzantine icons and traditional handicraft objects, jewels and woodcarvings to the Benaki Museum and the Gennadeion and her collection of antiquities to the National Archaeological Museum. Thanks to her personal care and supervision, distinguished scholars published her collection with copious illustrations that were exemplary for the time (1954 - 1971). The State awarded her the honorary rank of Brigadier General for her generosity. Even after making her donation Helen Stathatos kept on purchasing antiquities until 1974. Thus her collection amounts 971 works.


The National Archaeological Museum, respecting the donor's wish, inaugurated a permanent exhibition of her collection in its Room 32, named after her, on November 13, 1957. At this stage Helen Stathatos contributed with proposals regarding aesthetic matters connected with the display of the objects, thanks to her personal relation with the artworks and since she had made great efforts to bring together groups of antiquities separated by operators in the antiquities-smuggling market. Once the Museum's permanent exhibition had been completed subsequent upon the addition of works of sculpture of the Roman Age, the Stathatos collection was moved to Room 42. The new exhibition, inaugurated on February 3, 2000, retains the congenial atmosphere of the original exhibition marked by the personality of the donor.

Bibliography: E. Ζervoudaki, Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο. Συλλογή Σταθάτου, Athens 1999. eadem, "Η επανέκθεση της Συλλογής Σταθάτου", Το Μουσείον, 1 (2000) 82-83. Ι. Τουράτσογλου, "Η επανέκθεση της Συλλογής Σταθάτου. Λόγος των εγκαινίων", Το Μουσείον, 1 (2000) 84.

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