Τρίτη, 26 Απριλίου 2011

A fascinating house in Thessaloniki



A while back a significant photographer of contemporary Thessaloniki (his impressive photoblog is HERE) kindly contacted me to bring to my attention and offer me an amazing set of photographs of a house on 34 Euzonon Str. in Thessaloniki.




I kept them in store all this time, always hoping to do more justice to this impressive material through extensive research having the ambition to identify the artist and learn more about the owner, explore their source of inspiration and the story they're trying to tell.
Somehow I could never find the time, so I decided to post the pictures anyway for all of you to enjoy.



I limit my remarks to these points.

- The house bears an inscription under the pediment "K.I. ΜΗΤΤΑΣ 1920". K. Μήττας is the name of its owner who is said to have fought in the Macedonian Struggle.



- The curved pediment depicts a Gigantomacy involving an extensive number of persons - I think I counted 26 human heads. I could not detect an exact parallel for this depiction of the Gigantomacy, though similarities with the Pergamon Altar Gigantomachy may be discerned.

- Athena is the central figure of the scene with Apollo (?) to her right holding a bow. The bearded figure on lower right of Athena with arm raised maybe the Giant Typhoeus.

- In the corners of the pediment parts of chariots are portrayed. One the right-hand one a Macedonian star is visible.

- The artist is especially interested in depicting large spears with arrow-like heads.

- The whole scene seems to be made of gypsum.



Central part of pediment


Left part of pediment


Left corner of pediment


Right part of pediment


Right corner of pediment


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On a niche below the wall with the pediment there is the gypsum statue of a female figure holding a fruit or ball. Such clay statues are rather common in niches of neoclassical houses, but I confess I am unable to identify this lady.



Please remember all photographs are here reproduced by kind permission of Arcades.

Δευτέρα, 18 Απριλίου 2011

The philosophers' game

What if Ancient Greek and German philosophers solved their differences over a game of soccer?

Monty Python (of course!) have the answer.





I sincerely thank our blog reader "Ein Steppenwolf" for suggesting this.

Κυριακή, 3 Απριλίου 2011

Invoking the Keratea kouros

A brief summary of the story so far for our foreign readers. 

The Greek Government decided to create a space for landfill in the region of Keratea, in Southwestern Attica, close to the site of Ovriocastro. Ovriokastro is a fortified hill site with important archaeological remains and a life span ranging from the prehistoric to hellenistic times. Strangely enough, the area is a declared and protected archaeological site with Decisions by the Greek Ministry of Culture dating in 1980 and 1995.
Ever since the announcement of the government's intentions, the people in the region protest strongly and continously against the construction of the landfill, invoking in their arguments the great archaeological importance of the site.

[There are lots of full reports on the incidents related to this struggle, some of them in English and other languages as well, so if you're interested take a look here]


One of the most characteristic finds of the region is the so-called "Kouros of Keratea", currently in exhibit in the National Museum of Athens.


It is interesting to note that, although other important finds also come from the same region, even other statues of Kouroi and a Kore, this particular statue has become a symbol of the the struggle of the people in Keratea, often portrayed in their remonstration posters.






On March 22, 2011, another form of protest against the construction of the landfill took place in front of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, current home of the Keratea Kouros. Students of the School of Fine Arts created a copy of the Keratea Kouros out of garbage and displayed it outside the entrance of the Museum.
According to the press reports the students said that "their aim was not to create an exact copy of the Kouros but rather to make a statue that would refer to the Kouros as he appears in their eyes after the construction of the landfill".

[press report here (in Greek)]






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Note also that protest against the Keratea landfill also took place in the Poseidon temple in Sounion.