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Mina Moraitou, “‘Mr. Byzantoine et ses amis’: Antonis Benakis and the Art Scene of Alexandria”
Antonis Benakis was born in Egypt into a Greek family with a strong sense of duty towards society. He maintained close ties with the homeland and had, as all Greeks did, a strong sense of Greek identity although he was born and raised abroad. In a time of irredentist ideas, he contributed to Greece’s struggle to expand its borders by supporting operations or participating along with other family members. As he was growing up in Alexandria, Benakis became a passionate art collector. His had a wide range of interests and gradually he managed to form remarkable collections.This paper will focus on the artistic scene of Alexandria during the years before the move to Athens, the contribution of the Greek community and especially the role of Antonis Benakis. Furthermore, it will highlight the eclectic taste of the collector and the way in which it was reflected in the creation of the Benaki Museum in Athens.
Mina Moraitou is Curator of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art
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