WELCOME TO LEDA'S GREECE in October 2016

WELCOME TO LEDA'S GREECE in October 2016

Greek Easter

Orthodox Greek Easter: 15th of April 2012 - Easter is one of the most important holiday in Greece


The Greek Orthodox Easter is a time for celebrations and festivities that surpass even the most lavish of Christmas revelry anywhere in the world. The Greek Orthodox Easter is calculated using a different calendar to the Catholic Church and the two can be up to three weeks apart. Greek families travel from all over the world to get together in their home villages in an incredible atmosphere with fireworks and feasting. 
On Good Friday, all the churches decorate the Epitaph with spring flowers, and cover it with sweet-smelling leaves and petals. It is moving to join the procession of mourners as they go round the parish with lighted candles to bless the area and the houses.Saturday at midnight, the Resurrection is celebrated. 


It is customary for everyone to take their candle home with them, doing their best not to let it go out on the way, bringing home the Resurrection light, which is a blessing for the rest of the year. Right after midnight, 'war' is declared when all the fireworks and bangers explode! It is customary, after the 40-day fast, to roast lambs and eat the red-dyed eggs that have been prepared for the Easter period. The Easter meal would not be complete without the Easter bread, which housewives usually bake on Maundy Thursday. It is decorated with a cross and has a red egg in the centre.

Many Easter traditions originated long before the beginning of the Christian era. 
Like Christmas, which is related to pre-Christian winter festivals, Easter is connected in many ways with pagan rituals that accompanied the arrival of spring. It is possible that the name "Easter" stemmed from that of Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of springtime. Easter is also associated with the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach. The term "paschal", meaning "of Easter", is derived from the name of the Jewish festival, as are the names of Easter in some foreign languages. In Greek, Easter is called Pascha, meaning passover: It is the eternal Passover from death to life and from earth to heaven.

One of the most common Christian symbols, especially associated with Easter, is the lamb. It is often depicted with a banner that bears a cross, and it is known as the Agnus Dei, meaning "Lamb of God" in Latin. The origin of the symbol is related directly to the Jewish Passover. In ancient times the Jews sacrificed a lamb in the course of the festival. The early Christians, most of whom were Hebrews, associated the sacrifice of the lamb with Christ's sacrifice on the cross. They connected the joyous Passover festival, which commemorates the liberation of the Hebrews from their years of bondage in Egypt, with the liberation from death represented by the Resurrection. The popularity of lamb as an Easter food is undoubtedly related to its importance as a symbol. During the middle ages roast lamb became the traditional main course of the Pope's Easter dinner, and it is still customarily served on Easter Sunday in many European countries.

Greeks mainly color eggs red (scarlet) to signify the blood of Christ. They use hard-boiled eggs (painted red on Holy Thursday) which are baked into twisted sweet-bread loaves or distributed on Easter Sunday; people rap their eggs against their friends' eggs and the owner of the last uncracked egg is considered lucky. In Christianity, the egg is a symbol of Resurrection, representing the emergence of Christ from His tomb to everlasting life. Over the centuries the symbolic associations of the egg have been more or less forgotten, and modern Easter eggs are valued primarily for their colorful appearance. Eggs of chocolate or other kinds of candy are favorites of the season.

The Midnight service is called the Resurrection Service and it's without a doubt the most important day on the calendar. At midnight all the lights are extinguished in the church and the priest comes from behind the doors on the altar carrying a candle. He walks to someone in the front row and lights their candle and these people who receive the light of the resurrection, the light is a symbol of the resurrection, pass the light from candle to candle and the light fills the church. Everybody leaves the church just before midnight, singing a song the words of which mean, Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Through death conquering death. 


At midnight at the moment of the resurrection all the families have gone to church together, all standing sort of huddled in these little insular units and everybody kisses everybody and say, "Christos anesti?", "alithos anesti", Christ has risen, indeed He has risen. And it's a very touching moment. In the moment of conquering death it's, it has a certain meaning to kiss your family. People have been saying these prayers unchanged for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. It's a custom to carry this candle back home, taking care the flame is not extinguished. At the house a cross is made with the flame above the entrance door to bless the house and its inhabitants by the light of Christ's resurrection.


In some areas of Greece, it is customary for young people to light a huge bonfire in the churchyard to burn Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus. On Easter Sunday, after the Easter Service at 12 midday, traditional entertainment with the participation of all people is organised. Fasting has ended (The Great Fast (Lent)--beginning on a Monday 7 weeks before Easter) and huge dishes of lamb are enjoyed. The Greeks have many traditions on this day, however the most important is gathering the family together and roasting a lamb, rotisserie-style, ('Arni Pashalino tis Souvlas': Easter Lamb on the Spit) in their front yards.



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As for food during Easter, you can't have a proper Greek Easter celebrations without lamb, kokoretsi, magiritsa, and eggs


On Holy Thursday the custom is to color Easter eggs and bake Tsoureki (Easter Sweet Bread). Out of the kitchens a smell of vinegar fills the air since vinegar is necessary for the color to set on the eggs. Some of the colored eggs are used to decorate the Sweet Easter Bread. The others are placed in glass bowls or in baskets on the living room table, filling the house with the spirit of Easter. Another custom which housewives still observe is to refrain from lighting a fire or cooking on Good Friday. The meal, prepared the day before, is quite simple, usually consisting of lentils boiled in plain water, vinegar, and oregano, and served with olives, scallions, and halva, all considered fasting food.



Nowhere else in the world can the spirit of the Holy Resurrection of Christ be felt as it is expressed in Greece. All the preparations for Easter: the characteristic foods of this important holiday, the Red-Colored Eggs, the Arni sti Souvla (Lamb on the Spit), the Kokoretsi (Lamb Entrails Grilled on the Spit), the Mayeritsa (Easter Soup),together with the cheerful tolling of the bells, the liturgy in church, the pure white candles with their flames dancing in unison, all this and more, make one feel from within the uniqueness and magnificence of this feast.
Easter is the feast that, more than any other, makes the migrating Greeks return to their homeland to roast the lamb on the spit and to crack the red Easter eggs with their families.

Greek cinema



GOOD OLD GREEK CINEMA - ΠΑΛΙΟΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΙΝΗΜΑΤΟΓΡΑΦΟΣ 


The First Footage - Cinema as popular entertainment is largely a post-war phenomenon in Greece, although a tradition of Greek film-making can be traced back to the early 20th century. The first Lumiere films were shown in central Athens in 1897 to a mixed response: some members of the audience reportedly fainted, while others threw stones at the screen. Nevertheless, a cinema was established in the capital several years later. The first film made in Greece was a newsreel of the 1906 interim Olympic Games. The first full-length feature film was Golfo (1914) by Costas Bachatoris , a bucolic romance adapted from a popular play of the same name, that premiered at the Pantheon cinema on 22 January 1915.


The Post-War Years - The rise of Greek cinema in the post-war years is closely connected to the establishment of Finos Films production company, which launched with Voice of the Heart in 1943. Self-consciously styled on Hollywood production companies, Finos oversaw production from shooting, through editing, distribution, and marketing. Finos produced mainly comedies and melodramas, as well as Hollywood-inspired musicals and westerns. Some of its greatest hits were many features starring Aliki Vouyouklaki (1937-96), one of the leading lights of Greek cinema. She debuted in 1954 with Nikos Tsiforos ' (1912-70) The Little Mouse , but achieved star status a year later with Dimis Dadiras ' (1927-82) The Lover of the Shepherdess.














At the early 1950s saw some independent film productions. It was Grigoris Grigoriou (1919-), the director of Bitter Bread (1951), who introduced Greek neo-realism , under the influence of the Italian post-war cinema of Roberto Rossellini, Luciano Visconti and Vittoria De Sica. Shot on location and using non-professional actors, Neo-realism drew on the experiences and struggles of the working class. At the same time, two other independent film-makers launched their careers: Michael Cacoyannis (1922-), a Greek Cypriot, whose film Stella (1955), launched the career of actress Melina Mercouri (1923-94), and Nikos Koundouros (1926-) with his film The Ogre of Athens (1956). Despite such classics as A Girl in Black (1956), starring Elli Lambetti and his screen versions of the Euripidean tragedies Electra (1961), The Trojan Women (1971) and Iphigenia (1977), Cacoyannis is best-known for Zorba the Greek (1964), an adaptation of the novel by >Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957).

The New Greek Cinema
- In the 1960s, film directors such as Alexis Damianos, Theodoros Angelopoulos (1935-) and Pantelis Voulgaris (1940-) attempted to break with the commercial film industry. They created the 'New Greek Cinema' - an auteur cinema outside the studio system, much like the French New Wave. A spate of independent film-makers, such as Costas Ferris (1935-), Nikos Nikolaidis (1940-), Nikos Panayiotopoulos (1941), Yiorgos Panoussopoulos (1942) and Vassilis Vafeas (1944-), rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s.

Filopoemin Finos, a man with exceptional technical and organizational talents showed great perseverance and managed to overcome all obs-tacles and to present the first complete, modern film: "The Voice of the Heart" (1942), directed by Dimitris Ioannopoulos, who also wrote the screenplay. It was made immediately after the great famine in Athens and was shown in March 1943, selling 102.000 tickets in the still occupied capital city. It was a typical melodrama starring some of the best young actors of the time, such as Dimitris Horn, Alekos Leivaditis and Lambros Kons-tandaras and the great dramatic actor of the stage, Ai-milios Veakis. This film marked the coming-of-age of the Greek cinema. Finos immediately began his next film. He and his father were arrested by the Germans as members of the Re-sistance. He was subsequently released but his father was executed in July 1944. There followed the Liberation and the Civil War between November 1944 and January 1945. Despite all this, Finos produced "The Villa with the Water-lilies", a family, sentimental, dramatic comedy, in April 1945. This was the course he was to follow: hard work, effectiveness, more and better films regardless of the circumstances, but films without social comment.

Next came the comedy films, usually stage-successes, often directed by the writers themselves (Sakellarios was followed by Nikos Tsiforos) and with the same cast.
And so the great comedians of the popular tradition passed from stage to screen. They were "descendants" of Ka-raghiozis, hero of the shadow-theatre, barefoot, hungry and down-trodden, yet always teasing and quick to reply, himself a descendant of the heroes of Aristophanes. The stage and variety comedians were accustomed to con-versing with the audience and improvising, and each one had created for himself a characteristic type. From the pent-bourgeois Logothetidis to the gentlemanly Konstan-daras; from the excitable Stavridis to the loud-mouthed idler Fotopoulos; the proud yet drunken Makris, the working-class type Avlonitis, the cunning country oaf Hatzichristos, the versatile Papayannopoulos and Ilio-poulos, who came nearer to comedia dell' arte, these comedians became the most popular film stars. The screenplays were made to measure for them, and they retained a large degree of initiative. Their presence was the main asset during the great age of the mainstream cinema.
Moreover, it was certain comic actors who gave some of the best tragic performances: Makris in "The Drunkard"; Iliopoulos in "The Ogre of Athens"; and Vengos in "What did you do in the war, Thanassis?". The films of this second period were mainly portrayals of Greek manners and mores. In a traditional context, with roots in literature and the theatre, they favoured outdoor filming in natural settings and provide us with valuable scenes of the neo-classical Athens of the time and of Greece in general: a Greece which has changed so radically today. These studies of manners and mores with their local colour, naivety, immediacy and simplicity were generally protected from the direct influences of the foreign cinema, which was also spreading at the same time in the Greek market. Sakellarios ("Music, Poverty and Pride", 1955), Tzavellas ("Marinos Kontaras",1947, "The Counterfeit Sovereign", 1955), Giorgos Zervos ("The Lake of Desire", 1958), and the first woman dir-ector Maria Plyta ("The Wolf Woman", 1950) achieved notable results. Perhaps even more noteworthy was a neo-realistic trend. Grigoris Grigoriou came face to face with the impasse of a working family in "Bitter Bread" (1951). Stellios Tatassopoulos depicted the hard life of the emery miners of Naxos in "Black Earth" (1952). The Greek-American Greg Talas-Grigoris Thalassinos (who had edited Renoir's "The Southerner" in Hollywood) told the story of a group of children during the German Occupation in "Barefoot Battalion" (1954).
In this first full blossoming of the Greek cinema, we have the appearance of the first conscious and creative dir-ectors who wanted above all to express a personal view of the world with a corresponding freedom of form, rather than allying themselves with the current system and following the directions laid down by the producers, whose aims were to maximize the financial success of their films.

Already, Grigoriou and Tatassopoulos had endeavoured to control the production themselves in a form of cooperative. However, Nikos Koundouros, who came from the world of Fine Arts, boldly raised the flag of independent artistic creation from the very first with the film "Magic City" (1954). He commissioned the screenplay from a modern avant-garde writer, Margarita Lymberaki, and sought expression more in images and rhythms. "The Ogre of Athens" (1956), one of the most important Greek films, was financed by a personal friend of Koundouros (a method widely employed after 1970) and the extreme combination of expressionism and satire, film noir and symbolic game so "alarmed" both audiences and producers that for many years later, the latter turned down proposals for artistic films, saying: "Not another Ogre!".
The Greek movies of the 50's and 60's are always alive, they become books, diaries and boardgames. Various where the artists of the Golden Greek cinema period (50-60's) Elli Lambeti (30's), Petros Fyssoun, Aliki Vougiouklaki, Kostas Kazakos, Dinos Illiopoulos, Tzeni Karezi, Labros Konstadaras, Dionyssis Papayannopoulos Alekos Alexandrakis (50's-60's)...
All text info originally found at greecenow.com

Famous Greeks

FAMOUS GREEKS


Maria Callas - Callas, Maria, professional name of Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos (1923-77), Greek-American soprano, the preeminent prima donna of her day, and the first modern soprano to revive forgotten operas of the bel canto repertoire. Born in New York City, she moved to Athens at age 13, where she studied at the Royal Conservatory in Athens and made her first major appearance there in 1941 as Tosca.


Vangelis Papathanassiou (Vangelis)
Vangelis is one of the most famous Greek singers, whose works have gained the broadest international recognition. His works are the soundtrack of the movie Chariots of Fire (won him an Oscar in 1982), as well as the soundrack for Bladerunner, Colombus, and even the music for many international athletic competitions (World Athletic Championship 1997, Hellenic Olympic Games Theme, etc.) and much much more.

FAMOUS GREEKS IN MEDICINE
Dr. George N. Papanicolaou, MD, the originator of the "Pap test" 1883 -- 1962 - Physiologist and microscopist, born in Kimi, Greece. He studied at Athens and Munich universities, and for most of his career was associated with Cornell Medical College, New York City. His research on reproductive physiology led him to discover that he could identify cancer cells in samples taken from the cervixes of women with cervical cancer. He subsequently pioneered the techniques, now called Papanicolaou's stain, or the pap smear, of routine microscopical examination of exfoliated cells for the early detection of cervical and other forms of cancer. 

PHOTOGRAPHY
Voula Papaioannou (1898-1990) began working as a photographer during the 1930s, concentrating at first on studies of landscapes, monuments and archaeological exhibits.The outbreak of war in 1940 marked a turning point in her career, as she was intensely affected by the suffering of the civilian population of Athens. Realising the power of her camera to arouse people’s conscience, she documented the troops departing for the front, the preparations for the war effort, and the care received by the first casualties. When the capital was in the grip of starvation, she revealed the horrors of war in her moving photographs of emaciated children.After the liberation, as a member of the photographic unit of UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), she toured the ravaged Greek countryside recording the difficult living conditions faced by its inhabitants. She often exceeded her brief, immortalising the faces and personal stories of ordinary people in photographs that stressed dignity rather than suffering.During the 1950s Papaioannou's work expressed the optimism that prevailed in the aftermath of the war with respect to both the future of mankind and the restoration of traditional values. Nevertheless, her photographs of the historic Greek landscape are not in the least romantic, but instead portray it as harsh, barren, drenched in light, and its inhabitants proud and independent, despite their poverty.Voula Papaioannou's work represents the trend towards "humanitarian photography" that resulted from the abuse of human rights during the war. Her camera captured her compatriots' struggle for survival with respect, clarity, and a degree of personal involvement that transcends national boundaries and reinforces one’s faith in the strength of the common man and the intrinsic value of human life.  Info and photos from Benaki museum

Elli Souyioultzoglou-Seraïdari 
(Greek: Έλλη Σουγιουλτζόγλου-Σεραϊδάρη) b.1899 - d.1998 (better known as Nelly's) is one the most celebrated Greekphotographers of all time, and during the interwar period became one of the world's most celebrated female photographers. Her pictures of ancient Greek temples against sea and sky backgrounds, which were published by the first Greek ministries of tourism, shaped the first visual images of Greece in the Western mind. She was born in Aidini, Asia Minor, and after the 1922 expulsion of the ethnic Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turks following theGreco-Turkish war (1919-1922), she went to study photography in Germany, where she was elected to become pupil of the most famous German photographers of the era (Hugo Erfurth and Franz Fiedler). In 1924 she came to Greece, where she adopted a Hellenocentric and conservative approach to her work.

POLITICS
Venizelos, Eleutherios 1864 -- 1936 Greek statesman and prime minister (1910--15, 1917--20, 1924, 1928--32, 1933), born in Mourniés, Crete, Greece. He studied law in Athens, led the Liberal Party in the Cretan chamber of deputies, and took a prominent part in the Cretan rising against the Turks in 1896. As prime minister of Greece, he promoted the Balkan League against Turkey (1912) and Bulgaria (1913), and so extended the Greek kingdom. His sympathies with France and Britain at the outbreak of World War 1 clashed with those of King Constantine I, and caused Venizelos to establish a provisional rival government at Salonika, and in 1917 forced the king's abdication. He was heavily defeated in the general elections of 1920, but served three times more as prime minister before retiring. In 1935 he came out of retirement against the restoration of the monarchy, but failed to win support and fled eventually to Paris.  
Papandreou, Georgios 1888 -- 1968 Greek Republican statesman and prime minister (1944--5, 1963, 1964--5), born in Kaléntizi, Greece. A lawyer by training, he moved into politics, holding office in several administrations, including the brief period when the monarchy was temporarily removed (1923--5). He escaped during the German occupation, and returned in 1944 to head a coalition government, but was suspected by the army because of his Socialist credentials, and remained in office for only a few weeks. He then founded the Centre Union Party (1961), and returned as prime minister. A disagreement with King Constantine II led to his resignation, and in 1967, when a coup established a military regime, he was placed under house arrest.

Karamanlis, Konstantinos (also spelled Caramanlis) 1907 -- 1998 Greek statesman, prime minister (1955--63, 1974--80), and president (1980--5), born in Próti, Greece. A former lawyer, he was elected to parliament in 1935, became minister of public works (1952), then prime minister, and formed his own party, the National Radical Union. During his administration, Greece signed a Treaty of Alliance with Cyprus and Turkey. After his party's election defeat in 1963, he left politics and lived abroad, but returned to become premier again in 1974, when he supervised the restoration of civilian rule after the collapse of the military government. He then served as president.

Melina Merkouri was the woman who left her seal on the Hellenic Ministry of Culture during the 80's. Melina Merkouri, a world-famous actress, brave fighter of the resistance movement against the military regime (1967-1974), politician of an enormous radiance in Greece and abroad, Minister of Culture for eight and a half years (1981-1989 and October 1993-March 6, 1994). Still, above all she was a great Greek, a woman that was cherished and passionately loved by the Greek people. y using her own splendor and glamour, Melina Merkouri managed to make Culture part of the everyday lives of the Greek people, a front page story in the newspapers and big news in radio and television. During her years of office at the Ministry she raised the issue for the return of the Parthenon's marbles kept in the British Museum in London, to their rightful place, the Acropolis Museum. The Parthenon's marbles are the masterpieces that were stolen back in the beginning of 19th century by Lord Elgin, then the British ambassador to Constantinople (Istanbul), who mutilated the most resplendent monument of antiquity. Aware of the fact that the existing Acropolis Museum had not enough space to exhibit the marbles, Melina Merkouri started procedures for the construction of a new Museum that would operate keeping its most beautiful, most splendid room empty, waiting for the marbles' return to Greece, the land that gave birth to them. Moreover, it was she who envisioned the creation of a substantial cultural institution, the "Cultural Capital of Europe". The institution which was inaugurated ten years ago from Athens, is -up to now- the first and only event that culturally unites European countries. Melina Merkouri was the one who had said "Culture is Greece's heavy industry" and managed to make everyone amply aware of this. The Melina Merkouri Foundation, which was founded by her husband Jules Dassin after her death, keeps Melina Merkouri's visions alive.

BUSINESS

Onassis, Aristotle (Socrates) 1906 -- 1975 Millionaire ship-owner, born in Smyrna, Turkey. Buying his first ships (1932--3), he built up one of the world's largest independent fleets, and was a pioneer in the construction of super-tankers. He was one of the biggest and most well known ship-owners in the world, and more specifically in the field of oil-tankers. In 1956, he established Olympic Airways airline, which he transferred to the Greek State in 1975, after having developed it into a private company serving the five continents. His first marriage, to Athena, daughter of Stavros Livanos, a Greek ship-owner, ended in divorce (1960). He then had a long relationship with Maria Callas, and in 1968 married Jacqueline Kennedy. 

OLDER ERAS: 

KINGS
Philip II (of Macedon) 382BC -- 336BC King of Macedon (359--336 BC), the father of Alexander the Great. He used his military and diplomatic skills first to create a powerful unified state at home (359--353 BC), then to make himself the master of the whole of independent Greece. His decisive victory at Chaeronea (338 BC) established Macedonian hegemony there for good. The planned Macedonian conquest of Persia, aborted by his assassination in 336 BC, was eventually carried out by his son.

Alexander the Great 356BC -- 323BC King of Macedonia. Born at Pella in 356 B.C. to the first wife of King Philip II of Macedonia. At age 20, Alexander became the king of Macedon, the leader of the Corinthian League, and the conqueror of Persia. He succeeded in forging the largest Western empire of the ancient world. As a teenager, Alexander was educated by the Athenian philosopher Aristotle. By the year 337 B.C. all of the Greek city-states had been conquered or forced into an alliance by King Philip II. He was planning to lead their joint forces in an invasion of the Persian Empire when he was assassinated in 336 B.C. at the wedding of Alexander's sister to the king of one his vassal states. Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedonia at the age of 19










    Greek Folklore and Tradition

    Metsovo's (a region in Epirus/Western Greece) 

    Craftsmen and women keep alive the traditions of woodcarving and weaving, producing amazing rugs & carpets, the so-called "Metsovitika".
    Popular traditional Cretan (from the island of Crete) art is continued today in weaving, crocheting, carpet making, towels, lace work etc. showing the feel for beauty and art the people of the county have. Village women and local co-operatives make embroideries from silk or wool. Peope from Crete also have their own traditions, in music, and dancing.

    Embroideries (Tsevredes, τσεβρέδες in Greek) were made by old women in Greece few generations ago, as a dowry given to girls in order for them to get married. Could be found in the form of pillows, framed embroideries, curtains, sheets, tablecloths etc.

    Embroidered products - coloured, white embroidery and lace, gold embroidery - were meant for clothing, the home and the church.
    The embroidery is made with threads of silk, cotton and wool, or silver and gold threads, and depending on the technique, was known as "grafta", "metrita", "terzidika" or "sirmakesika". Embroideries varied, from cotton/towel fabrics with cotton/gold and silver threads.
    Personal statement: Not available nowadays, cause not many women can take the time..it would take up to 15-30 days to do an embroidery.

    Embroidery is the most impressive branch of folk art, and is of significance for both art and folklore. Embroideries from all parts of Greece, especially Macedonia, attest to influences from East and West, and also to distinctively Greek characteristics, which are clear in the variety of the decorative motifs. Embroideries are classified according to their use and their technique, into white, coloured and gold embroideries.  

    Coloured embroideries are intended to adorn houses, or to form part of both male and, mainly, female costume. They are 'metrita' and 'grapta', with local variations in both the motifs and colours used. The material used is normally silk thread, wool or cotton thread being used more rarely.

    In the older times, in reference to marriage, in some parts of Greece, the bride had to have a dowry made by her mother, grandmothers and aunts, consisting of sheets, towels and hand made embroideries, and the father of the bride offers a furnished home to his daughter and son-in-law as a wedding gift.

    Personal statement: today, in Athens and other big cities, the bride doesn’t have a dowry anymore.

    Painting in Greece

    Greek contemporary Art  - with its age-long tradition, its artists and their creations of major importance in the international cultural arena- ancient Greek and Byzantine Art offered world exceptional creators even during the slavery years of the Turkish occupation. A bright example -amongst the great number of artists- is Dominicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) - with his combination of Byzantine spirituality, Venetian color of mannerist forms and Spanish mysticism. Click for Dominikos Theotokopoulos, the famous El Greco (meaning “The Greek”) was born in Irαklion, Crete (then a possession of the Republic of Venice), in 1541 and was named Domenikos Theotokopoulos. Details of his early life and training are sketchy, but he probably first studied painting in his native city. Although no works from his first years survive, they were probably painted in the late Byzantine style popular in Crete at the time. Reminiscences of this style are seen in his later work. He was an erudite man, whose taste for classical and contemporaneous literature seems to have developed in his youth.Moreover, an important and mainly pioneering part is played by artists from Ionian islands in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, who exploit some conquests of the Italian Renaissance and baroque ateliers. As efforts persist with new outsets, preconditions and objectives, Greek artists emerging in the world during the first decades of the 19th century reconnect Greek art with ancient Greek tradition as well as with the quests of the European ateliers, especially those of the Munich School.

    Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco)

    Hence, during the last decades of the 19th century, with the "fathers" of Greek contemporary art of the 20th century, the creators Konstantinos Parthenis, Konstantinos Maleas and George Bouzianis, Greek contemporary art will proceed to entirely new formulas beyond the quests of foreign mainstreams. Particularly in sculpture, one can distinctly observe the success of our artists who manage to combine excellently ancient Greek tradition with the folk art forms and the European quests.

    Thus, during the first decades of the 20th century, Greek contemporary art succeeds to be forwarded to an ample disengagement from foreign influences and offers works that distinguish for their sincerity and their expressive wealth. This is a course that continues more plainly with the creators that are emerging to the world during the years between the two world wars. Those are the creators that go even further. For, now Greek contemporary art not only consolidates its course to that of international art but also has creators who move forward in a personal way towards all directions and virtually brake new grounds, impose new characteristics and shape wonderfully the features of our times.  Although it is not possible to refer to certain names now, it is easy to ascertain that those creators are successfully presented in all major art centers around the world, they express personal encounters and collective concerns, they give form to the fears and hopes of today's people. It is a course that persists with artists in painting, sculpture and engraving. Artists that emerge to the world after 1940 and enrich the international plastic art creations with their new formulas.

    In the 20th century, Greek art distinguishes for the multiformity of its quests and the wealth of the expressive language, the honesty of its voice and the quality of its formulas. So, it creates works of all mainstreams, traditional, contemporary and experimental, that -beyond anything else, beyond any regional character- express faith in Man and love for freedom, in a convincing way, with esoteric truth.
    Giannis Tsarouchis - He is one of the most inspired exponents of this movements. A student of K. Parthenis at the Athens School of Fine Arts, he also studied with F. Kontoglou and D. Pikionis, after which he goes to Paris in 1935, and produces his first major works at the end of the 30’s. The influences of Pompey’s frescoes, Fayoum or Byzantium, Theophilos and Karayozis, Renaissance and also Baroque as well as Matisse of Baroque work together within his art in a unique way, to give us pictures with man at their center. Figures which are sometimes realistic, sometimes idealized sometimes effusively decorated, and always with the unique stamp which makes the works of the great artists who have something important to say, stand out from the rest. These unique features are present in the three works displayed in Municipal Art Gallery, Two Friends (1938), Basketball Player (1949) and the Squadron Leader, created in the period 1950-1951. In all three, what strikes one most is the active role played by the masses of color, which prepare for the frontal treatment of the subject. Together with this, the way in which shapes and forms are set out on the canvas gives it an introverted dimension, in which are described the features of the faces. These, in accordance with the habit of the artist, are male figures rendered with characteristic realism, as can be seen mainly in the latter works. Here, the individual features of the figures are emphasized. The design in based on masses of color, with linear strikes to stress the outline. The resultant form confirms the power of the artist to express his thoughts and his ideological relationship with art itself, together with the inborn feeling and understanding he has for his native country. Tsarouhis does not reject anything out of hand, but uses everything which moves him as part of his work.















    My childhood

    I always remember the movies I used to watch.. the cartoons, and the books into their world I'd sunk for hours...




    Greek Flag

    The pattern and colors of the Greek Flag haven't changed a lot since the Revolution of the Greek Nation in 1821. Many people wonder why the founders of the Hellenic Democracy have chosen the symbols, patterns and colors that appear on the National Flag of Greece.
    The National Anthem was written by Dionysios Solomos (1823) and was composed by Nikolaos Mantzaros, and has been the official anthem from 1864, by King George's decision. It consists of 158 stanzas, however, it is usually the first two stanzas presented as the national anthem.

     
    click flag below, to hear our National Anthem


    The Greek Square Cross that rests on the upper left-side ofthe flag and occupies one fourth of the total area demonstrates the respect and the devotion the Greek people have for the Greek Orthodox Church and signifies the important role of Christianity in the formation of the modern Hellenic Nation. During the dark years of the Ottoman rule, the Greek Orthodox Church helped the enslaved Greeks to retain their cultural characteristics: the Greek language, the Byzantine religion and generally the Greek ethnic identity, by the institution of the Crypha Scholia (hidden schools). The Crypha Scholia were a web of schools that operated secretly throughout Greece and were committed in transmitting to the Greeks the wonders of their ancestors and the rest of their cultural heritage. Today, Christianity is still the dominant religion among Greeks. Therefore the existence of the Cross is justified.

    "We know thee from your sward's awesome sharpness, We know thee from your shape's awesome look. From the graves of our slain Shall thy valour prevail
    As we greet thee again- Hail, Liberty! Hail!
    Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψη του σπαθιού την τρομερή, σε γνωρίζω από την όψη που με βία μετράει τη γη.
    Απ' τα κόκαλα βγαλμένη των Ελλήνων τα ιερά, και σαν πρώτα ανδρειωμένη, χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά
    Εκεί μέσα εκατοικούσες πικραμένη, εντροπαλή, κι ένα στόμα ακαρτερούσες, «έλα πάλι», να σου πεί.
    'Αργειε νάλθει εκείνη η μέρα, κι ήταν όλα σιωπηλά, γιατί τά 'σκιαζε η φοβέρα και τα πλάκωνε η σκλαβιά. Δυστυχής!
    Παρηγορία μόνη σού έμενε να λές περασμένα μεγαλεία και διηγώντας τα να κλαις.
    Και ακαρτέρει και ακαρτέρει φιλελεύθερη λαλιά, ένα εκτύπαε τ' άλλο χέρι από την απελπισιά
    Κι έλεες: «Πότε, α, πότε βγάνω το κεφάλι από τσ' ερμιές;».
    Και αποκρίνοντο από πάνω κλάψες, άλυσες, φωνές
    Τότε εσήκωνες το βλέμμα μες στα κλάιματα θολό, και εις το ρούχο σου έσταζ' αίμα, πλήθος αίμα ελληνικό
    Με τα ρούχα αιματωμένα ξέρω ότι έβγαινες κρυφά να γυρεύεις εις τα ξένα άλλα χέρια δυνατά
    Μοναχή το δρόμο επήρες, εξανάλθες μοναχή - δεν είν' εύκολες οι θύρες εάν η χρεία τες κουρταλεί
    'Αλλος σου έκλαψε εις τα στήθια, αλλ' ανάσαση καμμιά - άλλος σου έταξε βοήθεια και σε γέλασε φρικτά
    Αλλοι, οϊμέ, στη συμφορά σου οπού εχαίροντο πολύ, «σύρε νά 'βρεις τα παιδιά σου, σύρε», έλεγαν οι σκληροί
    Φεύγει οπίσω το ποδάρι και ολογλήγορο πατεί ή την πέτρα ή το χορτάρι που τη δόξα σού ενθυμεί
    Ταπεινότατη σου γέρνει η τρισάθλια κεφαλή, σαν πτωχού που θυροδέρνει κι είναι βάρος του η ζωή
    Ναι, αλλά τώρα αντιπαλεύει κάθε τέκνο σου με ορμή, πού ακατάπαυστα γυρεύει ή τη νίκη ή τη θανή
    Απ' τα κόκαλα βγαλμένη των Ελλήνων τα ιερά, και σαν πρώτα ανδρειωμένη, χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!

    HOMEPAGE
    These two colors symbolize the blue of the Greek Sea and the Whiteness of the restless Greeks waves! According to the mythic legends, the Goddess of Beauty, Aphrodite emerged from these waves. In addition, it reflects the blue of the Greek Sky and the White of the few clouds that travel in it. The number of the lines is based on the number of the syllables in the Greek phrase: Eleutheria H Thanatos (Freedom or Death) which was the motto during the years of the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19nth century [There are claims that the number of lines reflects the number of letters in the greek word for Freedom which equals 9]. This word stirred the heart of the oppressed Greeks, it created intense emotions and inspired them to fight and gain their freedom after 400 years of slavery. The line pattern was chosen because of their similarity with the wavy sea that surounds the shores of Greece.The interchange of blue and white colors makes the Hellenic Flag on a windy day to look like the Aegean Pelagos. Only the quaint islands are missing!