The Monument of Zalongo, 1954-1960
On the occasion of the events celebrating the 200-year anniversary from the commencement of the Greek Revolution, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is restoring in the Agora, the horizontal section, at a height of 40cm, of the base of the sculpture Monument of Zalongo.
The installation had been on display, in SNFCC’s Agora, for the first time in January 2019, in the context of the exhibition “George Zongolopoulos: The vision of a public sculpture“. Simultaneously, Zalongo, a silver plated brass miniature, created by George Zongolopoulos himself, will be hosted again on the SNFCC’s premises.
The restoration of the installation marks the beginning of a series of events celebrating the 200-year anniversary from the 1821 Greek Revolution, which are anchored on the question: What are the Faces of the Hero?
2021 is the year in which we will retrace that timeless portrayal of the hero. From the heroic figures of the ancient era, and the heroes of the 1821 Greek Revolution, to the antiheroes of the contemporary world, the heroic model is invested with virtues such as selflessness, courage, strength, tenacity, patience and boldness. In a period that brought unprecedented challenges for everyone, today more than ever, we are able to recognize virtuous personalities throughout the SNFCC events.
Angelos Moretis, Director of the George Zongolopoulos Foundation, comments on the original sculpture:
“The Monument of Zalongo, an artwork by sculptor George Zongolopoulos, is a unique case of public art in Greece, since, due to its monumental scale (18m x 15m) and its natural position, it towers over the landscape. In addition, the fact that it is visible from a distance of 30 Km deems it a rarity in our country.
The Monument of Zalongo is one of the first examples of the application of the principles of modernism on the monumental sculpture of Post War Greece. The figures of the Souli heroines do not portray known historical personalities. The sculptor chose to leave them without specific features and to remove all detail from their faces and torsos, in order to allow viewers the freedom to picture each of these women with their soul and their imagination. The result was the creation of a universal symbol of Freedom on the “Sacred Rock of Zalongo”.
It took 6 years and 4,300 limestone blocks to complete the statue and, even to the present day, its creation is considered a feat of construction by the standards of 1950s and 1960s Greece, given that the materials were transported over 160 Km to be worked on and chiseled in situ on mount Zalongo.
The unveiling of the Monument of Zalongo was held with due ceremony on the 10th of June 1961.”
The themed events programming Faces of the Hero is realized thanks to the exclusive grant by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).