The Vorres Folk Art Museum, known as Pyrgi, created by Ian Vorres, is justly considered today as an essential unit of Greece’s traditional folk art institutions.
Respect for environment and historical reference, a warm, homely atmosphere prevailing in the interior and exterior spaces, choice thematic units of artistic objects of the highest aesthetic order, continuous cultural activities and unabated interest for the enrichment of the Museum collections, all reflect its distinctive and highly personal character.
The result of one man’s vision and fervour that guarantees its efficient operation according to the highest cultural standards, the Vorres Museum serves as tangible proof that the great tradition of national benefactors, rooted in Greece’s past, is still alive and thriving.
Surveying the gardens and the interior spaces of the Museum complex, joined into a well-conceived aesthetic and impressive whole, and viewing the various categories of exhibits, many quite unique, (like the best collection in Greece of the so-called “syriana” ceramics coming from the island of Syros, a special study of which is now being completed ??), the visitor is immediately taken by the sensitivity and refined eye of the collector and the scope of his achievement which aims at revealing the rich facets of Hellenism.
Original in concept and of particular interest are the many groups of traditional and historic exhibits made of various materials, such as millstones, decorative marble insignia, stone troughs, well-heads, carved fountains, Aegean lintels, hand wrought iron grills, candle holders, wooden wine presses, Aegean chests and trunks richly ornamented, agricultural utensils, heavy Macedonian oak doors studded with hand-made iron nails, Greek island furniture and a great variety of paintings and engravings featuring important historic events. Also featured is a variety of earthenware from all parts of Greece, including large pots to store olive oil and wheat known as “kioupia”, a multitude of hand-woven curtains, seat covers and carpets, as well as a rare selection of Greek-Roman glass vessels. Many of these objects are shown as practical items for home living like millstones used as tables or horse troughs as vases filled with dried flowers.
Noteworthy also is a collection of rare medieval European furniture, which Greek seamen brought back from their extensive travels abroad to furnish their Aegean island homes. Such furniture through the years has become an inseparable part of Greek interior décor, especially in the Aegean, successfully blending with the traditional furnishing.
Impressive and surprising also is the natural ease with which all sections of this extensive Museum complex communicate with the typical stone covered courtyards surrounded by lush gardens brimming with typical Greek trees and flowers. This in turn ingeniously secures the easy inter-communication and cohabitation of people with nature, an ideal which has always been the basic aim of Greek popular architecture.
The Vorres Folk Art Museum, a real oasis a stone’s throw from the hub of Athens, not only serves as a cultural reminder of Greece’s rich past, but as a brilliant example to be followed by others as well.
Professor, University of Athens