Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), has announced that Constantine (Deno) and Marie Macricostas, through the Macricostas Family Foundation, have pledged a $1.5 million gift in support of the Library’s new west wing. In acknowledgment of this significant gift, the space will be named the “Ioannis Makriyannis Wing” at the wishes of Mr. and Mrs. Macricostas, in honor of the Greek patriot General Makriyannis (1797–1864).
Makriyannis was born in the village of Avoriti in the region of Phokis, immediately adjacent to Krokilio, the birthplace of Deno Macricostas’ mother, Anastasia Armaos Macricostas. Makriyannis commissioned a set of paintings illustrating the Greek War of Independence that now reside in the Gennadius Library. “We are thrilled to recognize Deno and Marie’s passionate support in this way,” reports Georgopoulou. “This beautiful new wing will allow the history and culture of modern Greece to be revealed and displayed as never before, thanks to their generosity and involvement.”
Rendering of the Ioannis Makriyannis West Wing currently under construction
Deno Macricostas is Executive Chairman of Photronics, a photomask company he founded in 1969 that he grew into the global leader in reticle technology (circuit design on glass plates used to make microchips). He came to the U.S. in 1954 to attend college, and remains committed to giving back to Greece. “We are grateful for the generosity and deep commitment of Mr. Macricostas to the mission of the Library,” states Alexander E. Zagoreos, Chairman of the Overseers of the Gennadius Library.
General Ioannis Makriyannis (1797–1864) fought valiantly in the Greek War of Independence and made important contributions to the political life of the early Greek state. He played a prominent part in the granting of the first Constitution. His Memoirs written in a direct, pure demotic Greek by this passionate, uneducated patriot are considered “a monument of Modern Greek literature.” Makriyannis commissioned the Spartan artist Panayotis Zographos to execute a series of 24 paintings on wood depicting individual battles in the long Greek struggle for freedom exactly as Makriyannis described them. Paper copies were presented to the monarchs of the countries involved; the Gennadius Library holds the set that belonged to King Otto.
Left to right: Archivist Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, School Director Jim Wright, George Macricostas,
Library Director Maria Georgopoulou and Deno Macricostas look at progress in the interior of the new Wing
The Gennadius Library is a landmark neoclassical building in the heart of Athens, where scholars find unparalleled resources for Hellenic studies and the Athenian international community enjoys public lectures, exhibits, and concerts. The new Ioannis Makriyannis Wing includes a recently constructed state-of-the-art gallery, as well as renovated interior space for research, seminars, and open-stack shelving of the Library’s unique holdings. This significant project is near completion thanks to major funding from a European Union ESPA grant, the Hellenic Republic’s Ministry for Development and Competitiveness, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and numerous other institutional and private gifts, in addition to Mr. and Mrs. Macricostas’s historic contribution.
The Ioannis Makriyannis Wing will be dedicated as soon as the construction and renovation project is complete. The Macricostas family will be guests of honor at the inauguration ceremonies, and opening exhibition on the life and contributions of Gen. Makriyannis, which will feature his paintings—and the moving narrative of resilience and patriotism they convey—as well as other artifacts related to his life. At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Macricostas, at least two of the paintings will always remain on display as part of a rotation that will allow all 24 paintings to be viewed annually.
"The Siege of Athens," one of the paintings that make up the Gennadeion's Makriyannis collection
“The Macricostas Family Foundation, in loving memory of my parents Stefanos and Anastasia Armaos Macricostas, is pleased to support the American School of Classical Studies, the Gennadius Library, and all who benefit from the vital work they perform in preserving the Hellenic past that Greek heroes like General Makriyannis fought so hard to keep alive,” declares Deno Macricostas.
Georgopoulou is “delighted with the opportunity the Macricostas family has presented the Library to bring attention to the Makriyannis series,” as well as for what their gift means for the Gennadeion going forward: “The Ioannis Makriyannis Wing will allow us to share the Gennadius Library’s remarkable collections in the worthiest of settings, and to partner with other organizations on culturally important exhibitions that would not have been possible otherwise. We thank Mr. and Mrs. Macricostas for their generous gift and the difference it will make in our work of advancing knowledge of the Greek past, both in terms of outreach through the exhibition space and in scholarly research within the library itself.”