Cemetery sculpture is something I never tire of looking at, in person while wandering a cemetery, or in book form on an inclement day at home.
Of Statues and Effigies is such a book. Author Adonis Stergiou concentrates on the faces of the sculptures found in the cemetery of Xiriotissa, Greece. During the Greek War, from 1945 – 1949, this cemetery was also used as an execution site, and for mass burials.
Stergiou tells us “the effigies are representations of people not always well known… It’s usually far harder to learn of the person represented by them since they were not “historically” significant. Of most of the subjects I had spotted, those seemed the most neglected.”
|Photo of Actor Thanos Leivaditis|
Thanos Leivaditis, a Greek actor and prolific screenwriter who penned thirty screenplays during his lifetime, was sculpted to look every bit the unhurried businessman on his way to an important meeting, sporting a suit and tie with every hair in place.
Two soldiers stand close together, gazing out into infinity, but the elements have left marks. It appears as if each man is sporting long sideburns instead of the rain tracks and erosion that marks each face. The sculptor, Nikos Perantinos, was known for his simplicity and classical form, to which the elements have only add enhancement.
|Drawing of Athanasios Diakos|
Stergiou ends his book with a photo at a tilted angle that has us looking up at the statue of Athanasios Diakos, a Greek military commander and national hero. Diakos fought against the Ottoman army in 1821 (and lost). He is remembered as a martyr for the Greek cause.