Angelos Delivorias, one of the most prominent archaeologists of his era and former director of one of Greece’s most prestigious museums, the Benaki, passed away at the age of 81, it was announced on Tuesday.
Delivorias, born in Athens, Greece in 1937, was for 41 years at the helm of Benaki. He stepped down in 2014.
As director of the museum he oversaw its expansion with the opening of new departments in other parts of the capital, the enrichment of its collections, the presence of the Museum abroad through several exhibitions, as well as its economic demise in recent years, due to the economic crisis.
Apart from the main building housing collections tracing Greek history from antiquity until modern times, the Museum opened its Pireos Street annex, showcasing modern art, the Museum of Islamic Art and the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery, housed in the former home of its famous namesake Greek painter.
“I dreamed of Greek timelessness, with all that this entails: the Greek language, the Greek soul,” Delivorias said in his farewell speech in 2014.
He said he formed a proposal for the national role the Museum should play, “but unfortunately the Greek state didn’t realize the importance of this proposal which, at the end of the day, was an international first for a museum.”
“On the contrary, year after year, state funding diminished towards Benaki with the well-known unpleasant results,” he added.
After graduating from the University of Athens, he started his postgraduate studies at the University of Freiburg in 1964 and a year later he joined the Greek Archaeological Service.
His archaeological career was based on the guidance of Christo and Semni Karousou at the national Archaeological Museum of Athens, he attained additional personal experience as the Curator of Antiquities in Patras and Sparta.
After winning the A.V. Humboldt Stiftung Scholarship in 1969, he began his doctoral research at the Univeristy of Tübingen.
In the years following the completion of his PhD thesis in 1972, he continued post-doctoral studies at the Sorbonne and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.
In August, 1973 he was appointed Director of the Benaki Museum.
As a visiting scholar at the British Council in London in 1977, the Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik in Munich in 1979, the American Government in 1980, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 1983, 1988 and 1999, the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin in 1986 and 1993 and the J.P. Getty Museum in 1989, he was given the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects.
In 1996 he was awarded the title International Man of the Year 1995-1996 by the International Biographical Center, in 1999 the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Medal by the French government and in 2000 the Commander of the Order of the Phoenix Insignia by the President of the Hellenic Republic.