ULYSSE, voyage dans une Méditerranée de légendes

From 23rd April to 22nd August 2021

A first original exhibition The HDE Var presents Ulysse, Voyage dans une Méditerranée de Légendes, an exhibition that aims to highlight this character’s influence on western culture and the history of the arts. Odysseus and the story of his return from Troy has long been an example of the qualities expected from an accomplished man, and an example of a real adventure. Every historical period, from ancient Greece to the present day, has increasingly resonated with the concerns in the Odyssey and its main character: a model human depicted for young people in classical Greece, a founding narrative for a large part of modern western civilization – right up to the contemporary suffering of refugees.

The exhibition has been organised around eleven sections, ten of which each portray a topic deeply rooted in the Homeric epic and linked to a character from the story. This means that visitors can follow both the chronological (through songs) and symbolic (through characters featuring in each stage of Odysseus’ journey) structure of the story. The aim of the exhibition is therefore to follow the events in chronological order, from Odysseus’ departure for the Trojan War, right up to his return to Ithaca, ten years later.

Follow the Guide

The exhibition will take place in 650m², over the three levels of HDE Var. It will be designed like a journey in Odysseus’ footsteps around the Mediterranean. The exhibition therefore focuses on the main character and on what happened during his journey.

The exhibition features sculptures, ceramics, objets d’art, drawings, photographs, paintings, films and installations. Film, music and video interpretations of the hero's adventures are also presented, offering visitors the chance to link these more contemporary works with the Homeric epic. This means that younger visitors for example, can relate to the issues raised by the hero’s adventures much more easily. By presenting Classical, Renaissance and contemporary works, from international collections or produced especially for HDE Var, depicting and evoking the multiple episodes of the epic of Odysseus, the exhibition journey will show how the styles and forms used by artists throughout history are constructed.

Commission and Organisation

Exhibition curator: Milan Garcin, , art historian

Archaeological advisor: Yvon Lemoine, archaeologist, in charge of La Celle Abbey

Exhibition production: Department of Var (HDE Var)


Exhibition catalogue

Ulysse, Voyage dans une Méditerranée de Légendes

Published by Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais


Book your ticket online

Our Partners :












Teramo, Museo Civico Archeologico di Teramo Francesco Savini

Ger Eenens Collection, The Netherlands

 Lancaster City Museum


HDE Var : a new cultural venue dedicated to exhibitions in the Var Department

HDE Var is an exhibition centre on 3 levels that can be adapted to suits all situations. These spaces have a long oblong shape with a central "stairwell wall" splitting each floor almost at the halfway point along its length. This wall, which gives the building its personality and is also its structural column, guides the direction of visits, and display cases are integrated into it. The facility offers more than 650m² of exhibition space. To visit each floor, use the three escalators. HDE Var will host two temporary exhibitions per year, starting in the spring of 2021.