Comments on Greek painting, art, contemporary thought

Our blog is an artistic, cultural guide to the Greek landscapes. At the same time it offers an introduction to the history of Greek fine arts, Greek artists, mainly Greek painters, as well as to the recent artistic movements

Our aim is to present the Greek landscapes in a holistic way: Greek landscapes refer to pictures and images of Greece, to paintings and art, to poetry and literature, to ancient philosophy and history, to contemporary thought and culture...
greek artists, contemporary thought, greek painters, literature, greek paintings, modern greek artists

Monday, May 31, 2010

Comments & Greek painting, Greek artists: Poor peace as the sun sets...

Poetry & Greek artists, modern Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Almond Trees, oil on canvas

Dylan Thomas
Author's Prologue

This day winding down now
At God speeded summer's end
In the torrent salmon sun,
In my seashaken house
On a breakneck of rocks
Tangled with chirrup and fruit,
Froth, flute, fin, and quill
At a wood's dancing hoof,
By scummed, starfish sands
With their fishwife cross
Gulls, pipers, cockles, and snails,
Out there, crow black, men
Tackled with clouds, who kneel
To the sunset nets,
Geese nearly in heaven, boys
Stabbing, and herons, and shells
That speak seven seas,
Eternal waters away
From the cities of nine
Days' night whose towers will catch
In the religious wind
Like stalks of tall, dry straw,
At poor peace I sing
To you strangers (though song
Is a burning and crested act,
The fire of birds in
The world's turning wood,
For my swan, splay sounds),
Out of these seathumbed leaves
That will fly and fall
Like leaves of trees and as soon
Crumble and undie
Into the dogdayed night.
Seaward the salmon, sucked sun slips,
And the dumb swans drub blue
My dabbed bay's dusk, as I hack
This rumpus of shapes
For you to know
How I, a spining man,
Glory also this star, bird
Roared, sea born, man torn, blood blest.
Hark: I trumpet the place,
From fish to jumping hill! Look:
I build my bellowing ark
To the best of my love
As the flood begins,
Out of the fountainhead
Of fear, rage read, manalive,
Molten and mountainous to stream
Over the wound asleep
Sheep white hollow farms
To Wales in my arms.
Hoo, there, in castle keep,
You king singsong owls, who moonbeam
The flickering runs and dive
The dingle furred deer dead!
Huloo, on plumbed bryns,
O my ruffled ring dove
in the hooting, nearly dark
With Welsh and reverent rook,
Coo rooning the woods' praise,
who moons her blue notes from her nest
Down to the curlew herd!
Ho, hullaballoing clan
Agape, with woe
In your beaks, on the gabbing capes!
Heigh, on horseback hill, jack
Whisking hare! who
Hears, there, this fox light, my flood ship's
Clangour as I hew and smite
(A clash of anvils for my
Hubbub and fiddle, this tune
On atounged puffball)
But animals thick as theives
On God's rough tumbling grounds
(Hail to His beasthood!).
Beasts who sleep good and thin,
Hist, in hogback woods! The haystacked
Hollow farms ina throng
Of waters cluck and cling,
And barnroofs cockcrow war!
O kingdom of neighbors finned
Felled and quilled, flash to my patch
Work ark and the moonshine
Drinking Noah of the bay,
With pelt, and scale, and fleece:
Only the drowned deep bells
Of sheep and churches noise
Poor peace as the sun sets
And dark shoals every holy field.
We will ride out alone then,
Under the stars of Wales,
Cry, Multiudes of arks! Across
The water lidded lands,
Manned with their loves they'll move
Like wooden islands, hill to hill.
Huloo, my prowed dove with a flute!
Ahoy, old, sea-legged fox,
Tom tit and Dai mouse!
My ark sings in the sun
At God speeded summer's end
And the flood flowers now.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek paintings: The colors and shapes of the Greek landscape...

Greek landscapes & Greek artists, modern Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Olive Grove in Attica, oil on canvas

Greek archetypes...

The colors and shapes of the Greek landscape...

The aesthetic view of Pericles Giannopoulos...

Pericles Giannopoulos
The Greek line & the Greek Color

So, the strength of Light, its penetration, the transparency of the air, the most clear writing of the Line is impressive. On every height you climb, you see a whole world. Through your sight you have the sense of everything that surrounds you.

All, from the biggest to the tiniest: Appears. Everything, however small it is, wants to be seen, the way a Greek man takes a walk. And so, all want to be seen and they are seen, so much so that after the sun fall a slim tree standing inside the shadowy eastern wall of Acropolis, painted like lines of hair on the background of a lighter air, speaks and tells... to the walker of the Zappeion square until the eighteenth afternoon hour: I am seen too, myself .

This natural, most clear writing of the line can be nothing else than the fundamental basis, the undeterred Need, towards which all Arts either wanting or not are going to conform. Leaned in this natural base, the mind will create the kind of Line writing, mainly in Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and in all the Arts whatever, in entirely all the subjects of life. And this line, naturally and necessarily, will be the most clear.

And this is the outmost characteristic of the Greek line. And only this would be enough to bring in, as consequences for the technical line, a plethora of other characteristics, about which is not to be said here. This is it and faintly: The only ruler of the Arts is how the thing is seen. Well, here everything shows up. Therefore, all lines, even the slightest ones. Voila the Need for a delightful line to be everywhere and to come from everywhere. It shows up: therefore, it is possible to get thinner and thinner infinitely. Here is the Need of delicateness. It seems to beat badly every exaggerate swelling, every overloading. Here is the need for the lack of plethora, of volume, of weight. Everything seems bright fully. Here it is, how by means of the slightest weavings of the line is possible the description of mind states and passions. It shows up: here is the entire kindness by means of the fewest heavenly lines.

Now, how are they written? In what way they write their nature? How do they express their personality? What do they write? What express and what they say and sing all the matters of the soils, rocks, ups and downs, of the hills, all mountains, until those over the ocean, until the heaven touching outer lines that the eye encompasses, - except of the camel-lined Lukabettous, which sometimes raises in the way Ararat does, which is geologically strange and holds its strange personality, like Christ does in our churches?

Pericles Giannopoulos (1869-1910)

What is it, how is it, what does all this cosmic material shout? Nowhere blackness, nowhere ferocity, nowhere fight, nowhere hate, nowhere cruelty, nowhere sharpness, nowhere choler, nowhere pessimism, nowhere massivety, nowhere volume, nowhere knot, nowhere weight, nowhere crowd, nowhere mixing, nowhere confusion, nowhere God-mania, nowhere heavy philosophy, nowhere sadness, nowhere despair, nowhere grieving thoughts.

Everywhere light, everywhere day, everywhere agreeability, everywhere fewness, relaxation, tidiness, symmetry, harmony, everywhere beautiful lines, Ulysses' cleverness, the litheness of a young man; everywhere calmness, charmness, hilarity; everywhere the plaything of Greek wisdom, hilarious mood, Socratic irony; everywhere philanthropy, love; everywhere desire, passion of song, of kiss; everywhere passion for matter, matter, matter, everywhere Dionysus' pleasure, passion for drunkenness, thirst for beauty, cradling of eternal happiness; everywhere the blowing of heroic air, strong air, the power air of youth and vigor and everywhere the blowing of the blue mood of beauty, beautiful despair, the crying of Adonis dying. And everywhere blows the air of bright heroic song tides the limbs and the same time the air of flute untying the limbs with lust. And everywhere blows the air that bears Venus' lamentations together with strong Satiric oxide.

All the rocks, hills, mountains, stand one by one, like beautiful women of the people humbly meditating, like mothers holding in their embracement beautiful children, like Byzantine Virgins leaning a bit their head in a serious love; like the young sitting on the elders' feet, like young women lying their head on their lover's knees caressed and meditating.

No matter what Hymettos is, or Ardittous, or Aigaleo, or Parnis - even this very Pentelikon which looks like the strength of an Arcadian adolescent - even with the snowy top dawning to the rosy dome, all beautifully decorated simply tell like sculptures, like tomb figures: we are beautiful. In perfect lack of raisings and appeals and jumps to heavens, they watch down in attention and worship the earth. Even this very Pentelikon being like Artemis walking down a mountain, watches down, like old temples with their airy wings sloping, like statuses, like Byzantine domes, like Greek saints, the decorated, pleased, shining, hilarious, like seeing before them a nicely set table and smelling roasted lamb.

It is clearly, one only Line, getting up gently, getting down tenderly, waving in big calm waves, getting up harmonically, getting down symmetrically, writing in its way nice curvings, sometime raising in nervous adolescent litheness to a kiss of high air and lightness of sea-gull returning again to a soft rhythm of hers.

It is only one line, like our old art, where all buildings seem brothers, though none resembles the other, all statuses like twin brothers and none like the other, like our Byzantine art, like the country songs, that are mainly one song and none entirely alike, like our ground which is one in total and in every step unlike, like the Greek who is one in total and in every step never the same, proving even our very whole nature, of which a basic feature is: the unity of the important characteristics and the infinite variety of the secondary ones...


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek paintings: what enables the Greek to die οn his feet rather than live kneeling in subjection...

Greek history & Greek artists, Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Rotonda, Thessaloniki, oil on canvas

We have no other certainties but freedom and language
Helene Glykatzi Ahrweiler

It is characteristic that the Byzantines referred to XIV century Turks as Persians and Achaimenides, not because they saw a racial connection between the Persians of yesterday and the Turks of their day, but because they considered themselves as carrying οn the struggle against the despotic greed of Asia which began at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae and was to end οn the ramparts of Constantinople in 1453 with dramatic consequences for the free spirit of Renaissance Europe.

This dedication to freedom, magnificently served by simple folk at every stage in the Greek continuum, is an undeniable instance of that Greek continuity which stirred Andre Malraux to declare, as he stood in the shadow of the Parthenon: “The ‘Νο!’ of 1940 is the same as that of Prometheus or of Antigone. This nation which celebrates its ‘Νο!’ is the same one that fought at Marathon, that chanted victory troparia in Aghia Sophia and that sacrificed itself at Souli and Messolonghi. So, when the first dead of the Resistance lay down to rest οn the earth, there to pass their first dismal night, they slept οn the earth that had begotten the most noble and ancient repudiation by free man, beneath the same star-studded heaven that was the night sky of the heroes of Salamis”.

Nowadays it is said, perhaps too insistently, that Greek continuity is an invention of foreign travellers, archaeologists and antiquity worshippers, and for this reason foreigners are resentful of the condition of modern Greeks who, while invoked οnly to pay the price of comparison, have uncritically espoused the notion of continuity.

It is nο longer the time for revisions. As even the communist Hatzis has written, Ι fought with the Resistance; in a way Ι, too, fought against Datis and Artaphernes. Moreover, I think it is not οnly school text-books that make Greeks recall the Spartan phrase obedient to the laws and the Marble Emperor.

As a last resort the laconic provocation Μολών λαβέ, (Come and get it!), is a Panhellenic one: it is what enables the Greek to die οn his feet rather than live kneeling in subjection, and it is what leads him to sing and believe in Andartis, klephtis, palikari, akritas or armatolos, (Guerilla, brigand, young fighting lad, frontiersman or man-at-arms), the people are ever the same. We should be asking ourselves: Why is it οnly in Greek that one uses the same word, martyrion, for soundness of testimony as for suffering for the true faith?

Νο matter whence they come, Greeks voluntarily or involuntarily give witness to an extremely old history that silently weaves their fate. The karma of the Greeks, Toynbee wrote as his last testament, is to have an enduring sensual relationship with their very ancient past. That says it all - and Toynbee was not what we call a philhellene.

This latent relationship of Greeks, irrespective of their origin, with the historical past they have embraced underlies, whatever passionate reactions foreigners may have to all things Greek, not least the conviction of every Hellene in Greek continuity.

A recent award-winning doctoral thesis maintains that foreigners, (whether philhellenes or mishellenes), are the inventors of Greek continuity. Cocteau, for instance; believed that nothing has changed in Greece for twenty-five centuries and even was ready to swear it οn oath; so too was Andre Breton who, as he told me in person, refused to visit Greece because nο one goes voluntarily to the country οf the conquerors who for twenty-five centuries have dominated the European spirit.

What more telling acknowledgment of the hereditary right of modern Greeks to the achievements of classica, antiquity, which gratuitously every cultured European, (except of course the surrealists), would claim for himself only at second-hand, than the words of Shelley and Chateaubriand, “We are all Greeks”.

Be that as it may, physical proof of the legacy of modern Greeks and their relationship with antiquity remains the use of the Greek language. Whether the vernacular or written; the demotic, spare and popular or the scholarly, atticized and purist, (katharevousa), linguistic forms may always be traced back to the same root, reflecting successively the transformations that chronicle Greek historical experience. Fοr instance the verb paideuo, initially meaning “to teach”, has acquired the sense “to pester or torment”. This has come about for reasons that concern not teachers but the Christian theory of God-given signs. Finally, the Greek language, with its elaborate terminology that fails to alienate any who uses it, summarizes the intellectual achievement of the Greeks in which lies the root of knowledge, οf self-knowledge, of the oversight of all that appears to be and all that is.

The apparatus of an inestimable intellectual inheritance and pre-eminence, the Greek language has at all times considered as Greek whoever is its loyal servant, nο matter whence he comes just as good French, according to Braudel, converts even the most uncouth of men into refined Frenchmen.

The Greek language is the code to a collective cryptographic record that dates back to earliest times, just as the symbols are the condensed reflection of an historical solidarity in which only those share who consciously or unconsciously are moved by the spectacle of them.

Ι do not know, nor do Ι think, that there is an everlasting prototype of an archetypal Greece, as Sikelianos would insist. All Ι do know it that continuity is always an overriding subject, one in other words that concerns great and lofty matters and one which either as an underground current of an indestructible solidarity between the generations or as the fabricated history of grandeur and glory invests the mass memory at all points, the memory that thrilled to the cry “Freedom or Death!”, the cry that succeeded to the Aeschylean “Forward, sons of Greeks!” the memory that lives οn in “Ιn the Cross conquer!” and that reverberates in churches and chapels οn every Friday devoted to the Salutations of the Virgin in the words “Triumphal praises to the Champion Defender”.

Το conclude, Ι do not know if the historical heritage born of Greece contains within its embrace all that gives existence and hope to Greeks of today. Rather it is almost certain that modern Greeks possess elements that originate in other traditions, (among them European), foreign traditions which assimilated Greek classical learning at times when Greece itself was displaying an historical and intellectual lethargy.

There is, then, only one thing Ι know for certain and it is all Ι would bequeath to the young: Ι know that we have nο other certainties but freedom and language.

But that and that alone is enough to bind Greeks undyingly to a mythical, if imaginary and fantastical, very ancient Greece, a Greece perhaps nonexistent today but nonetheless immortal.

Immortal like the yearning implicit in Romiosyni, that invisible and unbroken thread of Greek actualities which, as Seferis says with a profound sense of piety, is seated in the lap of the Virgin Mother.


Excerpts from H. Ahrweiler, The Making of Europe, Athens 2000. Helene Glykatzi Ahrweiler was a professor of history in France, vice-president, and then president of the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, Rector of the Academy of Paris, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris, and president of the Centre Georges Pompidou.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Greek artist Yannis Stavrou participates in the group exhibition of contemporary art "TIO ILAR 3", June 2-16, 2010...

Yannis Stavrou participates in the group exhibition of contemporary art "TIO ILAR 3", at the ELGEKA company, June 2-16, 2010...


International Group Exhibition of Contemporary Art

Opening on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Agiou Ioannou Theologou 60, Acharne, Attica, Greece
June 2-16, 2010
Visiting hours: Monday-Sunday, 17:00-21:0
tel + 30 6944 267855 Mrs. Angela Dikeoulia

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Comments & Greek paintings, Greek artists: He who has the courage to laugh...

Poetry & Greek painting, Greek artists, Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Two Boats, oil on canvas

Giacomo Leopardi

To Himself

Now will you rest forever,
My tired heart. Dead is the last
That I thought eternal. Dead. Well I
In us the sweet illusions,
Nothing but ash, desire burned out.
Rest forever. You have
Trembled enough. Nothing is worth
Thy beats, nor does the earth
Thy sighs. Bitter and dull
Is life, there is nought else. The
world is clay.
Rest now. Despair
For the last time. To our kind, Fate
Gives but death. Now despise
Yourself, nature, the sinister
Power that secretly commands our
common ruin,
And the infinite vanity of


He who has the courage to laugh is almost as much the master of the world as he who is ready to die.

You can be happy indeed if you have breathing space from pain.

In all climates, under all skies, man's happiness is always somewhere else.

I get up and I bless the light thin clouds and the first twittering of birds, and the breathing air and smiling face of the hills.

It's not our disadvantages or shortcomings that are ridiculous, but rather the studious way we try to hide them, and our desire to act as if they did not exist.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek painters: Like a white stone in a well’s depths, a single memory remains to me...

Poetry & Greek painting, Greek artists, modern Greek artists

Yannis Stavrou, Thessaloniki ΙΙ, oil on canvas

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?
Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

Anna Akhmatova

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead –
Can you be found on earth, though,
or only in twilit thoughts insteadbe mourned for,
in that peaceful glow.
All for you: the prayer daily,
the hot sleeplessness at night,
the white flock of poetry,
and the blue fire of my eyes.
No one was cherished more,
or tormented me so, no nothim,
who betrayed me to torture,
nor him,
who caressed and forgot.

Like a white stone in a well’s depths

Like a white stone in a well’s depths,
a single memory remains to me,
that I can’t, won’t fight against:
It’s happiness – and misery.
I think someone who gazed fullin my eyes,
would see it straight.
They’d be sad, be thoughtful,
as if hearing a mournful tale.
I know the gods changed peopleto things,
yet left consciousness free,
to keep suffering’s wonder alive still.
In memory, you changed into me.

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?
By day, a mysterious wood, near the town,
breathes out cherry, a cherry perfume.
By night, on July’s sky, deep, and transparent,
new constellations are thrown.
And something miraculous will come
close to the darkness and ruin,
something no-one, no-one, has known,
though we’ve longed for it since we were children.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Comments & Greek painters, Greek artists: My gaze is clear like a sunflower...

Poetry & Greek painting, Greek artists, Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Still Life with Apples, oil on canvas

Fernando Pessoa

No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it.

All is worthwhile if the soul is not small.

At first, it's unfamiliar, then it strikes root.

Could it think, the heart would stop beating.

Success consists in being successful, not in having potential for success. Any wide piece of ground is the potential site of a palace, but there's no palace till it's built.

To choose ways of not acting was ever the concern and scruple of my life.

To feel today what one felt yesterday isn't to feel - it's to remember today what was felt yesterday, to be today's living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost.

Wise is he who enjoys the show offered by the world.

Fernando Pessoa (1885-1935)

The Keeper of Sheep II
(translated by Richard Zenith)

My gaze is clear like a sunflower.
It is my custom to walk the roads
Looking right and left
And sometimes looking behind me,
And what I see at each moment
Is what I never saw before,
And I’m very good at noticing things.
I’m capable of feeling the same wonder
A newborn child would feel
If he noticed that he’d really and truly been born.
I feel at each moment that I’ve just been born
Into a completely new world…

I believe in the world as in a daisy,
Because I see it. But I don’t think about it,
Because to think is to not understand.
The world wasn’t made for us to think about it
(To think is to have eyes that aren’t well)
But to look at it and to be in agreement.

I have no philosophy, I have senses…
If I speak of Nature it’s not because I know what it is
But because I love it, and for that very reason,
Because those who love never know what they love
Or why they love, or what love is.

To love is eternal innocence,
And the only innocence is not to think…

I don’t know if the stars rule the world
(translated by Richard Zenith)

I don’t know if the stars rule the world
Or if Tarot or playing cards
Can reveal anything.
I don’t know if the rolling of dice
Can lead to any conclusion.
But I also don’t know
If anything is attained
By living the way most people do.

Yes, I don’t know
If I should believe in this daily rising sun
Whose authenticity no one can guarantee me,
Or if it would be better (because better or more convenient)
To believe in some other sun,
One that shines even at night,
Some profound incandescence of things,
Surpassing my understanding.

For now...
(Let’s take it slow)
For now
I have an absolutely secure grip on the stair-rail,
I secure it with my hand –
This rail that doesn’t belong to me
And that I lean on as I ascend...
Yes... I ascend...
I ascend to this:
I don’t know if the stars rule the world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Free Roman Polanski now...


Roman Polanski. He offered us images, myths, phantasy, humour, works of art...

Very few artists are left...

The new barbarian fascism of idiots destroys everything like a fire. Art, science, culture...

Free one of the last artists of our time now

Free Roman Polanski now...

Polanski's statement, 2-5-2010

I can remain silent no longer
Roman Polanski

Throughout my seven months since September 26, 2009, the date of my arrest at Zurich Airport, where I had landed with a view to receiving a lifetime award for my work from the representative of the Swiss Minister of Culture, I have refrained from making any public statements and have requested my lawyers to confine their comments to a bare minimum. I wanted the legal authorities of Switzerland and the United States, as well as my lawyers, to do their work without any polemics on my part.

I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to you without any intermediaries and in my own words.

I have had my share of dramas and joys, as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life. I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else.

It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the United States.

This affair was roused from its slumbers of over three decades by a documentary film-maker who gathered evidence from persons involved at the time. I took no part in that project, either directly or indirectly. The resulting documentary not only highlighted the fact that I left the United States because I had been treated unjustly; it also drew the ire of the Los Angeles authorities, who felt that they had been attacked and decided to request my extradition from Switzerland, a country I have been visiting regularly for over 30 years without let or hindrance.

I can now remain silent no longer!

I can remain silent no longer because the American authorities have just decided, in defiance of all the arguments and depositions submitted by third parties, not to agree to sentence me in absentia even though the same Court of Appeal recommended the contrary.

I can remain silent no longer because the California court has dismissed the victim’s numerous requests that proceedings against me be dropped, once and for all, to spare her from further harassment every time this affair is raised once more.

I can remain silent no longer because there has just been a new development of immense significance. On February 26 last, Roger Gunson, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case in 1977, now retired, testified under oath before Judge Mary Lou Villar in the presence of David Walgren, the present deputy district attorney in charge of the case, who was at liberty to contradict and question him, that on September 16, 1977, Judge Rittenband stated to all the parties concerned that my term of imprisonment in Chino constituted the totality of the sentence I would have to serve.

I can remain silent no longer because the request for my extradition addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie. In the same statement, retired deputy district attorney Roger Gunson added that it was false to claim, as the present district attorney’s office does in their request for my extradition, that the time I spent in Chino was for the purpose of a diagnostic study.

The said request asserts that I fled in order to escape sentencing by the U.S. judicial authorities, but under the plea-bargaining process I had acknowledged the facts and returned to the United States in order to serve my sentence. All that remained was for the court to confirm this agreement, but the judge decided to repudiate it in order to gain himself some publicity at my expense.

I can remain silent no longer because for over 30 years my lawyers have never ceased to insist that I was betrayed by the judge, that the judge perjured himself, and that I served my sentence. Today it is the deputy district attorney who handled the case in the 1970s, a man of irreproachable reputation, who has confirmed all my statements under oath, and this has shed a whole new light on the matter.

I can remain silent no longer because the same causes are now producing the same effects. The new District Attorney, who is handling this case and has requested my extradition, is himself campaigning for election and needs media publicity!

I can no longer remain silent because the United States continues to demand my extradition more to serve me on a platter to the media of the world than to pronounce a judgment concerning which an agreement was reached 33 years ago.

I can remain silent no longer because I have been placed under house arrest in Gstaad and bailed in very large sum of money which I have managed to raise only by mortgaging the apartment that has been my home for over 30 years, and because I am far from my family and unable to work.

Such are the facts I wished to put before you in the hope that Switzerland will recognize that there are no grounds for extradition, and that I shall be able to find peace, be reunited with my family, and live in freedom in my native land.

Roman Polanski

(Tr. Janet Lizop)

Comments & Greek painting, Greek artists: Mr. Godard did not arrive last night...

Cinema & modern Greek artists, Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Summer on Acropolis, oil on canvas


The brave and aesthetic attitude of Jean Luc Godard - favorite artist of our youth...

Tout le monde doit de l’argent à la Grèce aujourd’hui...
Jean Luc Godard

True to the spirit of his latest conundrum, which ends with a title card declaring, in English, NO COMMENT, Jean-Luc Godard let "Film Socialisme" speak for itself in Cannes Monday. The reclusive Godard cancelled his trip, thereby axing the press conference following the screening of his latest film. It competes this year in the festival's Un Certain Regard juried category.

"Mr. Godard did not arrive last night," publicist Phil Symes wrote me this morning. "It appears he has decided not to attend Cannes. We are all very disappointed."

Rumors in the main festival venue, the Palais, came cheaply and easily after the news. One had Godard cancelling in solidarity to the financial crisis in Greece, which seemed as plausible as anything--particularly given "Film Socialisme"'s obliquelament for Europe and its discontents, both historical and present.

(Chicago Tribune, 17 May, 2010)


(from Codard's interview:
Le droit d’auteur ? Un auteur n’a que des devoirs » Jean-Luc Godard)

All the world should thank Greece. It is the Occident that has a debt to Greece. The philosophy, the democracy, the tragedy...

«Υστερα από προβλήματα ελληνικού τύπου, δεν μπορούσα να βρίσκομαι    μαζί σας στις Κάνες. Η καρδιά μου ανήκει στο φεστιβάλ, αλλά δεν θα κάνω    ένα βήμα», ανέφερε στη λακωνική επιστολή του προς τον διευθυντή του    Φεστιβάλ των Κανών, Τιερί Φρεμό, ο Ζαν - Λικ Γκοντάρ

Jean Luc Godard

La crise grecque résonne fortement avec votre film…

On devrait remercier la Grèce. C’est l’Occident qui a une dette par rapport à la Grèce. La philosophie, la démocratie, la tragédie… On oublie toujours les liens entre tragédie et démocratie. Sans Sophocle pas de Périclès. Sans Périclès pas de Sophocle. Le monde technologique dans lequel nous vivons doit tout à la Grèce. Qui a inventé la logique ? Aristote. Si ceci et si cela, donc cela. Logique. C’est ce que les puissances dominantes utilisent toute la journée, faisant en sorte qu’il n’y ait surtout pas de contradiction, qu’on reste dans une même logique. Hannah Arendt avait bien dit que la logique induit le totalitarisme. Donc tout le monde doit de l’argent à la Grèce aujourd’hui. Elle pourrait demander mille milliards de droits d’auteur au monde contemporain et il serait logique de les lui donner. Tout de suite.

On accuse aussi les Grecs d’être menteurs…

Ça me rappelle un vieux syllogisme que j’apprenais à l’école. Epaminondas est menteur, or tous les Grecs sont menteurs, donc Epaminondas est grec. On n’a pas tellement avancé.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Comments & modern Greek artists, Greek painters: And eternity occurs to me, and all the ages past...

Poetry & modern Greek painters, Greek artists

Yannis Stavrou, Hydra under the Moon Light, oil on canvas

This computation of my sorrow's age.
How pleasant is it, in the days of youth...

Giacomo Leopardi
To the Moon

O lovely moon, how well do I recall
The time,--'tis just a year--when up this hill
I came, in my distress, to gaze at thee:
And thou suspended wast o'er yonder grove,
As now thou art, which thou with light dost fill.
But stained with mist, and tremulous, appeared
Thy countenance to me, because my eyes
Were filled with tears, that could not be suppressed;
For, oh, my life was wretched, wearisome,
And is so still, unchanged, beloved moon!
And yet this recollection pleases me,
This computation of my sorrow's age.
How pleasant is it, in the days of youth,
When hope a long career before it hath,
And memories are few, upon the past
To dwell, though sad, and though the sadness last!

Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

L' Infinito

This solitary hill has always been dear to me
And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of
The endless horizon.
But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts
Endless spaces beyond the hedge,
An all encompassing silence and a deeply profound quiet,
To the point that my heart is almost overwhelmed.
And when I hear the wind rustling through the trees
I compare its voice to the infinite silence.
And eternity occurs to me, and all the ages past,
And the present time, and its sound.
Amidst this immensity my thought drowns:
And to flounder in this sea is sweet to me.

And some of his thoughts...

Death is not evil, for it frees man from all ills and takes away his desires along with desire's rewards.

No human trait deserves less tolerance in everyday life, and gets less, than intolerance.

No one is so completely disenchanted with the world, or knows it so thoroughly, or is so utterly disgusted with it, that when it begins to smile upon him he does not become partially reconciled to it.

Old age is the supreme evil, for it deprives man of all pleasures while allowing his appetites to remain, and it brings with it every possible sorrow. Yet men fear death and desire old age.

People are ridiculous only when they try or seem to be that which they are not.

Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

There are some centuries which - apart from everything else - in the art and other disciplines presume to remake everything because they know how to make nothing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek painters: We are never so ridiculous through what we are as through what we pretend to be...

Aphorisms & Greek painting, Greek painters, Greek artists

Yannis Stavrou, Still life, oil on canvas

On human nature...

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

If we did not flatter ourselves, the flattery of others could never harm us.

If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others.

Innocence does not find near so much protection as guilt.

It is from a weakness and smallness of mind that men are opinionated; and we are very loath to believe what we are not able to comprehend.

It is often laziness and timidity that keep us within our duty while virtue gets all the credit.

Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.

Nothing prevents one from appearing natural as the desire to appear natural.

People always complain about their memories, never about their minds.

Perfect behaviour is born of complete indifference.

Perfect Valour is to do, without a witness, all that we could do before the whole world.

Philosophy finds it an easy matter to vanquish past and future evils, but the present are commonly too hard for it.

Quarrels would not last long if the fault was only on one side.

The principal point of cleverness is to know how to value things just as they deserve.

Francois de La Rochfoucauld (1613-1680)

The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than others are saying.

The surest way to be deceived is to consider oneself cleverer than others.

There are various sorts of curiosity; one is from interest, which makes us desire to know that which may be useful to us; and the other, from pride which comes from the wish to know what others are ignorant of.

There is nothing men are so generous of as advice.

Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.

Those who occupy their minds with small matters, generally become incapable of greatness.

Though men are apt to flatter and exalt themselves with their great achievements, yet these are, in truth, very often owing not so much to design as chance.

Usually we praise only to be praised.

Virtue would go far if vanity did not keep it company.

We always love those who admire us, but we do not always love those whom we admire.

We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.

We are never so ridiculous through what we are as through what we pretend to be.

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.

We easily forgive our friends those faults that do no affect us ourselves.

We have no patience with other people's vanity because it is offensive to our own.

We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

We often pardon those that annoy us, but we cannot pardon those we annoy.

We only confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no big ones.

We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.

We promise in proportion to our hopes, and we deliver in proportion to our fears.
Υποσχόμαστε σε αναλογία με τις ελπίδες μας και διανέμουμε σε αναλογία με τους φόβους μας.

We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.

Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended.

What keeps us from abandoning ourselves entirely to one vice, often, is the fact that we have several.

What men have called friendship is only a social arrangement, a mutual adjustment of interests, an interchange of services given and received; it is, in sum, simply a business from which those involved propose to derive a steady profit for their own self-love.

What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.

What we call generosity is for the most part only the vanity of giving; and we exercise it because we are more fond of that vanity than of the thing we give.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comments & modern Greek artists, Greek painters: Her glossy eyes are made of charming minerals...

Poetry & Greek painting, Greek artists, Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Woman with Hat, oil on canvas

Charles Baudelaire

Avec ses vêtements ondoyants et nacrés

Avec ses vêtements ondoyants et nacrés,
Même quand elle marche on croirait qu'elle danse,
Comme ces longs serpents que les jongleurs sacrés
Au bout de leurs bâtons agitent en cadence.

Comme le sable morne et l'azur des déserts,
Insensibles tous deux à l'humaine souffrance
Comme les longs réseaux de la houle des mers
Elle se développe avec indifférence.

Ses yeux polis sont faits de minéraux charmants,
Et dans cette nature étrange et symbolique
Où l'ange inviolé se mêle au sphinx antique,

Où tout n'est qu'or, acier, lumière et diamants,
Resplendit à jamais, comme un astre inutile,
La froide majesté de la femme stérile.

With Waving Opalescense In Her Gown

With her pearly, undulating dresses,
Even when she's walking, she seems to be dancing
Like those long snakes which the holy fakirs
Set swaying in cadence on the end of their staffs.

Like the dull sand and the blue of deserts,
Both of them unfeeling toward human suffering,
Like the long web of the ocean's billows,
She unfurls herself with unconcern.

Her glossy eyes are made of charming minerals
And in that nature, symbolic and strange,
Where pure angel is united with ancient sphinx,

Where everything is gold, steel, light and diamonds,
There glitters forever, like a useless star,
The frigid majesty of the sterile woman.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek painters: there’s always someone suitable around...

Greek Poets & Greek artists, modern Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Moon Shine, oil on canvas

Konstantinos Kavafis

From the School of the Renowned Philosopher

For two years he studied with Ammonios Sakkas,
but he was bored by both philosophy and Sakkas.

Then he went into politics.
But he gave that up. That Prefect was an idiot,
and those around him, somber-faced officious nitwits:
their Greek—poor fools—absolutely barbaric.

After that he became
vaguely curious about the Church: to be baptized
and pass as a Christian. But he soon
changed his mind: it would certainly have caused a row
with his parents, ostentatious pagans,
and—horrible thought—
they would have cut off at once
their extremely generous allowance.

But he had to do something. He began to haunt
the corrupt houses of Alexandria,
every secret den of debauchery.

In this fortune favored him:
he’d been given an extremely handsome figure.
And he enjoyed the divine gift.

His looks would last
at least another ten years. And after that?
Maybe he’ll go back to Sakkas.
Or if the old man has died meanwhile,
he’ll go to another philosopher or sophist:
there’s always someone suitable around.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comments & Greek painters, Greek artists: And from the beginning, Valleys, Mountains, Trees, Rivers...

Greek poets & Greek artists, contemporary Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Morning At the Port, oil on canvas

A new sun, not yet ripe,

That couldn’t manage to dislodge the hoarfrost of lambs from live clover, but, before even casting a ray, could divine the oracles of Erebus...

Odysseas Elytis
The Sleep of the Brave

They will smell of incense, and their faces are burnt by their crossing through the Great Dark Places.

There where they were suddenly flung by the Immovable

Face-down, on ground whose smallest anemone would suffice to turn the air of Hades bitter

(One arm outstretched, as though straining to be grasped by the future, the other arm under the desolate head, turned on its side,

As though to see for the last time, in the eyes of a disembowelled horse, the heap of smoking ruins)—

There time released them. One wing, the redder of the two, covered the world, while the other, delicate, already moved through space,

No wrinkle or pang of conscience, but at a great depth

The old immemorial blood that began painfully to etch, in the sky’s blackness,

A new sun, not yet ripe,

That couldn’t manage to dislodge the hoarfrost of lambs from live clover, but, before even casting a ray, could divine the oracles of Erebus...

And from the beginning, Valleys, Mountains, Trees, Rivers,

A creation made of vindicated feelings now shone, identical and reversed, there for them to cross now, with the Executioner inside them put to death,

Villagers of the limitless blue:

Neither twelve o’clock striking in the depths nor the voice of the pole falling from the heights retracted their footsteps.

They read the world greedily with eyes now open forever, there where they were suddenly flung by the Immovable,

Face-down, and where the voltures fell upon them violently to enjoy the clay of their guts and their blood.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek painters: Let's eat chocolate without stop...

Science & Greek artists, Greek paintings, modern Greek painters

Yannis Stavrou, Sunset in Thessaloniki, oil on canvas

Yes, there is a way to face our dramatic problems here, in Greece...

Although all of us suffer from major depression for the time being...

Chocolate! Let's eat chocolate without stop, every day, from morning to evening...

And everything will be better...

Chocolate & Depression...
ABC News/Health, April 26, 2010

The more clinically depressed people become, the more chocolate they eat, a study has found.

People who tested positive for depression consumed about 60 percent more chocolate compared with people who had lower test scores. A depression score suggesting major depression more than doubled chocolate consumption, investigators reported in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The association held up for both men and women and appeared unaffected by other dietary factors. But whether the findings meant that depressed people may eat more chocolate -- or more chocolate may make people depressed -- is still unclear.

"Whether there is a causal connection, and if so in which direction, is a matter for future prospective study," Dr. Natalie Rose of the University of California, Davis, and colleagues wrote in conclusion.

Cultural traditions have long associated chocolate with mood benefits, as reflected in almost 6 million results the authors retrieved in a Google search of "chocolate" and "mood."

One 2007 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that half of 3,000 people with depression said that chocolate actually made them feel better.

In general, however, associations between chocolate and mood have attracted little scientific interest, Rose and coauthors wrote. The scant published information on the issue has come from studies that had design flaws that limited interpretation of the results.

To improve the quantity and quality of data, the authors examined the relationship between chocolate consumption and mood in 931 men and women who participated in a clinical study of cholesterol control. The questionnaire used in the study included an item about chocolate consumption. Additionally, participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, and investigators assessed the depression level of participants.

Investigators compared chocolate consumption in study participants with lower versus higher scores for depression. The results showed that participants who tested positive for depression consumed an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate per month compared with 5.4 servings among participants with lower scores. Participants with the highest depression scores consumed an average of 11.8 servings of chocolate per month.

"In contrast to the findings for chocolate, differences in consumption of fat, energy, or carbohydrates by [depression score] group were not significant, suggesting relative specificity of the chocolate finding," the authors wrote.

Rose and coauthors suggested several mechanistic explanations for the observed association between chocolate consumption and depression score:

* Stimulation of self-treatment or self-medication with chocolate

* Stimulation of chocolate craving for reasons unrelated to depression

* Chocolate may drive depressive symptoms, rather than vice versa

* Inflammation or other physiologic factors might drive chocolate craving and depression

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Comments & Greek paintings, Greek artists: Civilization is the limitless multiplication...

Writers & Greek painters, Greek artists

Yannis Stavrou, Two Ships, oil on canvas

A great writer...

A very intelligent man...


Marc Twain

Better a broken promise than none at all.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.

But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?

Buy land, they're not making it anymore.

By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read.

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.

Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.

Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.

Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold.

Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

Grief can take care if itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

He is now rising from affluence to poverty.

Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.