The National Gallery – Alexander Soutsos Museum in Athens

In the pouring rain I’m heading for the National Gallery. Because of the heavy rain, it’s a perfect day to be inside a museum, and immerse myself for a couple of hours in the world of Greek art.
The National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum is a brand new museum. The opening ceremony was held on March 24, 2021. That was a day before the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. It is located in the district of Pangrati. Not in the heart of the centre, but just twenty minutes by foot (or one stop with the metro) from Syntagma Square.

Short history.

This particular museum is just two years old, but there has been a National Gallery in Athens for a long time. In fact, the museum was already established in 1878, with a collection of then 117 works of art. A few years later, in 1896, the wealthy jurist and art collector Alexandros Soutsos, bequeeathed his art collection to the Greek government. That’s also the reason for the second name of the museum. This collection – a fusion between the works of the museum and those of Soutsos – lead to the opening of a museum in 1896, in the building of the National Technical University. After World War II, the continuously growing collection moved to a new building, at the current location in Pangrati, just opposite of the Hilton Athens. The building, designed by the Greek architects Pavlos Mylonas and Dimitris Fatouros, opened in 1975. In 2013, the outdated museum had to be closed for renovation and expansion. It took a couple of years, but the project was finally completed in 2021, with the financial support of both the European Union and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Current collection.

This extensive renovation more than doubled the museum’s display capacity. Noways it consists of more than 20.000 square metres. The bright looking modern building of concrete and glass has been designed by architects George Parmenidis, Christine Longuepee and Ifigenia Mari. The facade of the three-story B-building (the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Wing) is covered by a glass tower. The interior is very light, with high ceilings and white walls. There is a 240-seat conference hall,  a library, a museum shop and two cafes (the Illisos Café at the ground floor and the Parthenis Café-Restaurant at the top floor),

The collection is devoted to Greek and European art, dating from the 14th tot the 20th century. It consists of around 20.000 works of art. There are paintings of famous Greek painters like Domenicos Theotokopoulos (better known as El Greco),Yannis Tsarouchis, Konstaninos Parthenis, Theodoros Vryzakis, Nikiforos Lytras, Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghika and Alekos Fassianos.
Although the collection is concentrated on Greek painters, there are also works of great painters such as Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, Eugene Delacroix, Carravaggio, and I even see some works of a famous painter from my own country, Piet Mondriaan.
The stunning museum is a real must for art lovers, and for people who are interested in Greek history.

More information.

  • Location:The National Gallery – Alexander Soutsos Museum is located at 50 Leoforos Vasileos Konstantinou, Pangrati, Athens. By foot 20 minutes from Syntagma Square, by metro 200 metres from Evangelismos station.
  • Opening hours: The museum is open every day (except Tuesdays), from10.00-18.00 hrs (on Wednesdays till 20.00 hrs).
  • Price: Tickets are 10 euro.