Old Man

The sculpture of an old man also belongs to portraits. Prototype of those old island Greeks who are the preferred models for the touristic illustrated Hellas-Books and who constantly confirm our Alexis Zorbas iconology anew. The face of the old man grows out of the stone standing rough in the bosse. His facial landscape seems to be part of the crude, arid, rock-gazing island landscape. That’s how one knows the grandfathers of Greece from a hundred kafenaions on the islands and on the mainland: the mariner’s cap, once dark blue or black and now bleached to colourlessness, is sitting with tilted shield in the often still thickly-curled salt-and-pepper hair; the knotted hands are on the chin or rest on the stick handle; the cigar butt is in the corner of the mouth; the glass of wine, ouzo or coffee is there just for sipping – Greece’s reliable patriarchs, it’s moral backbone, what would Hellas be without them? They re-grow with every new generation. Already in 1960 during our first explorations of Greece the were sitting at the pier in the little fishermen’s ports guarding the order of the islands, the tide of waves and winds – and in 2010 they are still sitting there on three of these tiny, skew wood chairs woven with straw; one is for sitting, one for resting the arms and the third one is serving as support for the feet. They are for sure not the same patriarchs as in 1960, because then they would have to be over a hundred years old, a biblical age rare in the Aegean as well. Nikos has captured this archetype very well. He always had a living example before his eyes: the own father, kind soul of the tavern besides the grandmother who is cheering to the guest from the North from the second visit onwards, signalizing to him he may feel at home at “Melina” on the beach of Akrotiri.


Akrotiri Beach, Santorini, Greece

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