THE MARBLE AT FUNERARY MONUMENTS
Since ancient times, marble, granite, natural stone are the only materials used in the construction and decoration of burial monuments to preserve the memory of the dead people over time.
The tombs of the Mycenaean period, the treasures of ancient Greeks, built with carved stone, such as the "treasure of Athena" (1250 BC) in Mycenae, also known as the "tomb of Agamemnon", the mausoleum of the 4th century BC . with the top of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (350 BC), which was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the impressive mausoleum of the Roman era, the Byzantine sarcophagi with the elaborate sculptural decoration, the impressive stone burial monuments The last centuries that are preserved today in the large and small cemeteries of the world, all these examples of respect for man in the memory of his dead are marble, granite and stone.
Because, in the history of the humanity, people want to believe that their dead people were not lost forever, and to create them, as them deserves, an "eternal memory". So they choose marble and stone, materials that they will not be damaged in time.
Nowadays, life was standardized , they were standardized with her and the tombs too. Thus, the graves, for the most part of them, have shrunk in poor and cold shapes, with a simple marble cross on them. Still, even today, in the era of standardization, remarkable marble burial monuments are being created, though rarer than in the past.
Our country, however, has a great tradition in the artistic creation of marble burial monuments, in every form. In the Greek cemeteries one finds funerary monuments of high artistic value, many of which are works of large sculptures of the 19th century, but also anonymous artists. In Athens' first cemetery there are many brilliant marble tombs, truly masterpieces, which are in direct connection with the classicist worldviews that prevailed at that time and more particularly around the middle of the 19th century, when the Cemetery was founded (1837).
In the First Cemetery of Athens, as well as in the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos, there are many funerary monuments that attract the attention of visitors because of their artistic structure and the precious sculptures that decorate them. In addition to well-known works such as Gaminoulis Halepas's "Sleeping", "Sleeping" and "Spanking Spirit" by Ioannis Vitsaris, there are many other, lesser-known tombs, exceptional art, with "absolutely secured place in the history Modern Greek sculpture ".
Such types of funerary monuments are:
- The grave relief of the tomb of N. Giotis, work of the brothers Fragiskos and Iakovos Malakate (from the earliest known sculptors of the First Cemetery). In this work Asklepios, on the one hand, offers medicine to a sick one, while on the other side the lament is depicted.
- The magnificent tombstone composition at the tomb of Michael Tositsa, the work of the family marblecraft’s of the Phtalidians. On top of a high stand, is the Tositsa’s statue of natural size, wrapped in a mantle. It is a project of great mood, great plasticity and characteristic expression. In the lower part of the base there is a totally archaic relief: four female figures, city personifications, mourn around a urn covering the central axis of the composition. These are Athens, Alexandria, Metsovo and some other undefined city. The embossment is of excellent quality and the folds are comfortable and decorative.
- The enormous, exceptional quality grandiose tombstone in the tomb of the national benefactor Georgios Averof, a work by Dimitris Philippotis based on a model by Ioannis Vitsaris. In this tombstone, Averof sits in a nice comfortable attitude, while underneath there are reliefs of sports matches. Four lions adhere to the broad base on which they define its four corners. A high quay gives monumental excitement to the whole.
- The tombstone in the grave of Emmanuel Efstratios, the most important work of Dimitris Philippotis at the 1st Cemetery (1886). The project depicts Emmanuel Efstratiou, who died on August 24, 1881 at the age of 90, with great realism. The execution is masterpiece and the sculptural composition is impeccable.
- Such funerary tombstones, inspired by the corresponding pottery of the Kerameikos, at least in their general structure, are quite numerous in the First Cemetery.
According to the experts in the 1st Cemetery, there are the most beautiful antique tombs that have never been made after antiquity. In no one cemetary in Europe has similar perfection, harmony and graceful columns with decoration with flowers. In the same area there are also some of the brightest samples of flowers embroidered on the marble in extremely elegant shapes
These are works of famous and anonymous marble sculptures that reveal the amazing thematic wealth of their creators and the wide spiritual horizon in which they were moving.
Another cemetery of Greece, known for its tombstone, is the cemetery in the village of Pyrgos of Tinos (built around the middle of the 18th century), the village of marbles, sculptures and painters whose work laid largely the bases of modern Greek art. The funerary plaques in Pyrgos' cemetery, unique in sensitivity and beauty, have inscriptions on them, fine decorative themes, as well as embossed signs of the deceased's profession or the paraphernalia of the homeless occupation of the dead.
All of these remarkable funerary monuments in the country's cemetery are the precious legacy of the modern marble sculptors who are still engaged in the creation of quality funerary monuments, proving that the good taste and the mood for art and beauty have not die.