Virtual Tour of the Museum of Delphic Festivals

  • Background

    The Museum of Delphic Festivals is housed in the old two-storey house of Eva and Angelos Sikelianos in Delphi. The building is situated in an extremely privileged location, next to the archaeological site of Delphi, on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos, overlooking the valley of Amfissa and the sea. It was built in 1924-1926 by local craftsmen, under the supervision of Eva Sikelianos. The architectural elements of the carved stonework, its arched openings and its columns without stripes are reminiscent of the neo-Gothic style houses of Bar Harbor, where young Eva used to spend her summers. After 1933, the house ceased to be inhabited; it was abandoned and gradually fell into decay.

    In the '60s it was expropriated in favour of the Greek National Tourism Organisation. In 1985 the European Cultural Centre of Delphi undertook its restoration to its original form.

    The official opening of the Museum of Delphic Festivals was held on 12 July 1991 and the Museum operated under the supervision of the Centre of Delphi until 2011.

    In 2011 the house of the Sikelianos’ family was granted to the Municipality of Delphi. The Centre of Delphi lent items of its collection to the Municipality so that the Museum of Delphic Festivals may be reopened, under the supervision and responsibility of the Municipality of Delphi.

  • Column with the profile of Eva Sikelianos

    The marble relief profile of Eva Sikelianos made by the sculptor Yannis Pappas is located in the small plateau outside the gate of the Museum`s garden. Verses from the poem Sibyl of Angelos Sikelianos are engraved on the marble.

  • Angelos Sikelianos, a sculpture by Christos Kapralos

    The sculpture by Christos Kapralos depicting Angelos Sikelianos, made of copper, is located in the exterior wall of the Museum. The work was acquired in 1997, donated by the Christos and Souli Kapralos Foundation. It was placed there during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals (1927-1997), Delphi 16-20 July 1997.

  • Angelos Sikelianos, marble bust

    A marble bust of Angelos Sikelianos, made by sculptor Yorgos Maltesos is located in the Museum's garden. Two verses from the Delphikós lógos (Delphic Utterance) that Sikelianos wrote in 1927 are inscribed on the column.

  • Angelos Sikelianos, Styx's Oath

    The poem Styx’s Oath, in five pages hand written with pencil by Angelos Sikelianos is exhibited in the hallway of the ground floor of the Museum. The poem was written in 1939.

  • Angelos Sikelianos' death mask

    Sikelianos, with major financial problems and poor health, died in Athens on 19 June 1951. His grave is in the First Cemetery of Athens. “Now Greece has emptied”, Nikos Kazantzakis said after the death of Sikelianos. The clay death mask of the poet by sculptor Thanassis Apartis is exhibited in the hallway of the ground floor of the Museum.

  • Pyrrhic dance

    The representation of Pyrrhic dance, the ancient Greek war dance, where warriors-dancers were holding a shield and spear and were wearing a helmet, was included in the programme of both Delphic Festivals.

    The performance was held at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi, with the participation of teenage athletes from Athens and Thessaloniki.

    The Pyrrhic dance was presented on the second day of the First Delphic Festivals on 10 May 1927, at the Ancient Stadium, in music by Constantinos Psachos and choreography by Thanos Veloudios. The contribution of the choreographer Hans Schaider and his choreographer wife was significant.

  • "The Dance of the Macedonians"

    Inspired by the representation of the Pyrrhic dance at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi during the Delphic Festivals, the painter Eleni Papageorgiou-Kravartogiannou painted the "Dance of the Macedonians", now situated in the hallway of the ground floor of the Museum.

  • Pyrrhic dance. Postcard

    The international photographer Elli Sougioutzoglou-Seraidari, aka Nelly's, photographed the Second Delphic Festivals (1930). Many of her photographs were printed on postcards of the era. Some of these postcards portraying the Pyrrhic dance belong to the collection of the Museum of Delphic Festivals.

  • Triumphal procession of Angelos and Eva Sikelianos at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi on shields of the Pyrrhic dance

    “While we were applauded by a crowded stadium, we ran at the strands of the officials, we grabbed Angelos and Eva Sikelianos, made them sit on our shields and lifted them on our shoulders wandering them triumphantly about the Stadium”, said Yorgos Dimitrakos, a team member of the Pyrrhic dance in the First and the Second Delphic Festivals, in a speech made during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals, Delphi 16-20 July 1997. Part of the photographic archive of Dimitrakos belongs to the collection of the Museum of Delphic Festivals.

  • Sports and athletic competitions

    Nelly's photographed the sporting competitions of the Second Delphic Festivals (1930) at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi. They included the ancient sports of the stadium (running), the diavlos, the hoplite run, discus, javelin and long jump with dumbbells. The pictures of the collection of the Museum of Delphic Festivals are reprints from the photographic archives of the Benaki Museum.

  • Battle of Apollo and Python

    The last day of the First Delphic Festivals (1927) marked the revival of the Septiria, an ancient ritual that recounted the killing of Python, the huge mythical snake-dragon, by Apollo. At the invitation of Angelos and Eva Sikelianos, the dancers Vassos and Tanagra Kanellou came from America. Vassos and Tanagra Kanellou were trained in the dance tradition of Isadora Duncan and came to choreograph and present the battle of Apollo with Python. Vassos Kanellos impersonated Apollo and Tanagra Kanellos impersonated Python.

  • The weapons of Apollo and Python’s costume

    The weapons of Apollo and the radiant outfit of Python, made by pure silk embroidered with green sequins, were designed by Tanagra Kanellos. They are displayed in the 1st floor of the Museum of Delphic Festivals. Sketches in pencil by T. Kanellos from the costume of Python are also exhibited.

  • Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. First Delphic Festivals (1927)

    On 9 May 1927, after many centuries of silence, the ancient drama revived in the ancient theatre of Delphi with Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, translated by Ioannis Gryparis. Yorgos Bourlos in the role of Prometheus.

  • "The Chorus of the Oceanids". Prometheus Bound. First Delphic Festivals (1927)

    The posture of the dancers in the Chorus of the Oceanids, as choreographed by Eva Sikelianos both impressed and divided the critics of the time. Alkis Thrilos (Eleni Ourani) noted in the newspaper 'Nea Estia': “The chorus is restored to its original position: the first”.Prominent post-impressionist painter Periklis Byzantios painted the famous “Chorus of the Oceanids”, a double sided painting (charcoal on paper), currently exhibited at the Museum of Delphic Festivals, donated by Dikos Byzantios and Marilena Liakopoulou.

  • Theatrical costumes

    The costumes of all actors, inspired by vases of the Classical period, were based on drawings of Eva and were also woven by her. The costumes of the Oceanids were particularly impressive, being silk, woven in all the shades of sea green, dark blue... The theatrical costume designs by Eva Sikelianos are exhibited in the Museum of Delphic Festivals.

  • Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. The music

    The music that accompanied the choruses was based on Byzantine music. Yiannis Tsarouchis writes in the article I could write endless pages for Eva Sikelianos: "Perhaps the greatest thing that Eva Sikelianos brought in Greece was the limitless respect to Byzantine music, as a means of returning to the spirit of the Greek tragedy”. The collection of the Museum of Delphic Festivals includes a handwritten pencil score with the monologue of Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus in the original text, in ancient Greek.

  • The performers in Prometheus Bound staged at the Second Delphic Festivals (1930) were the same as in 1927 with only a few replacements. The biggest change was in the sets. The rock that existed in 1927 was replaced by a pedestal of cement steps in 1930. A column for the tied up Prometheus was also added. The set was designed by architect Yorgos Kontoleon.

  • Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Second Delphic Festivals (1930). The public

    “The performance of Prometheus deeply moved me, the elite intellectuals were mentally shocked ...” wrote Achilleas Mamakis (Newspaper 'Ethnos', 2 May 1930). The Ancient Theatre of Delphi welcomed more than 1,500 spectators, a number well above the performance of 1927.

  • Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Second Delphic Festivals (1930). Post card

    Prometheus Bound presented in the Second Delphic Festivals was photographed by Nelly's, the official photographer of the Festivals. A very special photo of the performance was depicted on postcards of the era, with the logo of the Second Delphic Festivals on the back and now is exhibited in the Museum.

  • Theatre masks

    The masks of the actors were designed by Eva Sikelianos and now belong to the collection of the Theatre Museum. The Museum of Delphic Festivals presents reprints of enlarged photographs of Nelly's with the masks of Hephaestus, Io, Hermes etc.

  • Aeschylus’ Suppliants. Second Delphic Festivals (1930)

    The programme of the Second Delphic Festivals (1930) included the performance Suppliants by Aeschylus. The sets used in Prometheus Bound were maintained and instead of the column, an altar was placed, as well as the two statues of Apollo and Zeus. The chorus consisted of fifty suppliants and twenty-five maids. Eva Sikelianos added four followers wearing masks of the Egyptian gods.

  • Chorus in the Suppliants. Second Delphic Festivals (1930)

    The choreography was, as in Prometheus Bound, a work of Eva Sikelianos, with reference to the study of movement in ancient Greek and Egyptian vessels. The 50 followers of Danaos were dressed in white, with the appropriate make-up to look like Egyptians holding olive branches. The 24 maids, with yellow collars over their white robes were lined up in two rows in the semicircle of the orchestra in front of the viewers.

  • Angelos Sikelianos at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi, 1927

    “There [the eve of the official opening of the First Delphic Festivals] I first saw the poet with Eva at his side. He was in the prime of his age, handsome, 45-year old, a truly poetic figure”, said Yorgos Dimitrakos, team member of the Pyrrhic dance in both the First and Second Delphic Festivals, in a speech during the tribute for the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals, Delphi 16-20 July 1997.

  • Angelos Sikelianos, photographs from his life

    “[...] Sikelianos is a phenomenon. Who helped him? What happened to that moonstruck guy from the island of Lefkada that enabled him to make the tragic view of the myth tangible? [...] Sikelianos went to Delphi to find the meaning of his poetry. So he managed to establish himself through poetry not by the expression of his personal emotional outbursts but by expressing the ecumenical and global vision”. John P. Anton, 'The Delphic Idea of Angelos Sikelianos and the contribution of Eva to the revival of the Ancient Theatre' (Speech during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals, Delphi 16-20 July 1997).

  • Angelos Sikelianos. Souvenirs from Delphi

    At his Delphi house, Angelos Sikelianos lived intermittently in the years 1926-1933. This part of his life finally ended with the departure of Eva for America. Since then, Sikelianos never visited again the house of Delphi, whether alone or with his second wife, Anna Sikelianos. The poet's office is displayed in the Museum of Delphic Festivals as well as his armchair by the fireplace and a walking stick.

  • Christos Kapralos’ “Delphic Festivals-study”

    Christos Kapralos created a small sculpture made of copper as a study on the Delphic Festivals and the visionary of the Delphic Idea. It is a statuette of 41 cm height with Angelos Sikelianos seated and inscriptions engraved on the base. The sculpture, donated by the Christos and Souli Kapralos Foundation, was obtained during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals (1927-1997), Delphi 16-20 July 1997.

  • Eva Sikelianos, pictures from her life

    “In my early years I met two special people, Eva and Angelos Sikelianos. I speak of Eva first, because, for me, Eva was the 'core' of the charismatic couple. Angelos, of course, was a great personality. But Eva was the soul. And the soul, in my opinion matters the most. Eva, apart from her soul, had also dedicated her whole fortune to the couple”. (From the speech of Theodoros Kritas during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals, Delphi 16-20 July 1997).

  • Eva Sikelianos at the Ancient Theatre of Delphi, Second Delphic Festivals, 1930

    The picture of the lonely, almost hieratic figure of Eva Sikelianos, in an ancient Greek costume, photographed at the Ancient Theatre of Delphi in 1930, by Nelly’s, is reprinted by the original photo under license by the photographer. She had written to the composer Dion Aryvas on 27 November 1951 the following words: Everything has fallen over me like snake skins, except those that Greece gave me (From the speech of Vivette Tsarlampa-Kaklamanis at the conference “80th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals”, Delphi, 10 July 2007).

  • The loom of Eva Sikelianos

    The famous loom of Eva Sikelianos, donated by Anna Sikelianos, is displayed at the ground floor of the Museum of Delphic Festivals, along with Eva's pianola. In the same area there is a showcase with her daily clothing in style of ancient Greek costume. “She knew the art of the loom like no other Greek. At the time when she was preparing the performances of the Delphic Festivals, she was making clothes and at the same time teaching the art of weaving to the girls of Parnassos”. (From the speech of Theodoros Kritas during the 70th anniversary of the First Delphic Festivals, Delphi 16-20 July 1997).

  • Eva Sikelianos’ pianola

    The pianola of Eva, a ‘Grunert’ brand piano with pianola mechanism, with its paper music roll (roll music) in the special recess is displayed in the basement room of the museum. After Eva left for America and the Delphi house was abandoned, it was stored for many years by A. Kolomvotsos, superintendent of the Sikelianos house in Delphi. In 1992 the pianola found its place in the Museum of Delphic Festivals.

  • The art of weaving by Eva Sikelianos

    The art of weaving that Eva learned in Paris played a key role in the design and creation of the theatre costumes of Prometheus Bound and the Suppliants but also in everyday clothes that she wore. She wove numerous and embroidered theatre costumes with decorative elements inspired and copied from ancient vessels. Eva's garments, coats and tunics, pleated, meanders and ancient motifs, made of cotton and wool, are displayed in the Museum of Delphic Festivals.

  • Marble bust of Eva Sikelianos

    A marble bust of Eva Palmer-Sikelianos at a young age is on display on the first floor of the Museum. The artist's name is unknown. It is speculated that perhaps it was made in the workshop of Auguste Rodin in the years that Eva had lived in Paris before coming to Greece and meeting Angelos Sikelianos.