I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, March 11, 2016
Book Review: Of Statues and Effigies by Adonis Stergiou
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.
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.”
the neglect seems to add another layer of depth to this art. Many appear as though the sculptors caught their subjects amid
a “life” moment.
Photo of Actor Thanos Leivaditis
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.
Military figures, with uniforms and caps in
perfect order, are plentiful here. But look closer and each face will capture your
attention. It's almost as if a bit of each individual's personality has been been captured in the likeness.
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.
face has been weathered in such a way it appears at first glance as if a tear
is escaping from the man's eye.
statues sport the heavy mustaches and wavy hair of the late Victorian era along with pocking from the elements and a slight cast of mold.
statue of Anastasia Hatzimitala is amazing. The only woman featured in the book, she wears a covering on
her head; what appears to be veil like a nun, or a peasant.
Her eyes are lifelike and she looks directly at you, into your soul without reproach.
Drawing of Athanasios Diakos
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.
tells us “This project was about neglected memories which are still visible and
present among us.” After reviewing this book, I see those weathered and time-worn faces of cemetery statues in a more artistic light.
Author Adonis Stergiou
Statues and Effigies by Adonis Stergiou
for purchase at Amazon by clicking this link: