NELLY'S Portrait of Ioannis Metaxas (1871-1941) ca. 1940 Athens - x +

CN: NelS1940meta

MT: lithograph print on paper, glazed within original gilt wooden frame (35x22 / F:50x35x2)

TX: printed at lower right of margin in English <COPYRIGHT PHOTO NELLY'S, ATHENS>, below at center in Greek <Metaxas>

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2008

CM: The present photograph by Nelly's presents Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas (1871-1941) in his everyday dark suit. He never wore a military uniform after 1915 and his formal clothing at great ceremonies and receptions was with tailcoat and top hat. It is known from photographs that - despite being a military figure - Metaxas always wore civilian clothes, not very carefully kept and always greeted people by taking off his hat. Here, he is set standing against a dark background, while light harmoniously highlights his face and hands, of which the left holds his república hat. His gentle face is characterized by his straightforward, calm and decisive gaze, his narrow but rich mustache and his round spectacles. Thanks to Metaxas' preparations for the Great War, the Greeks were able to mount a successful defence and counter offensive, forcing the Italians back into Albania and occupying large parts of Northern Epirus (southern Albania), territories that despite being conquered and inhabited by Greek population had not been attributed to Greece after the war ended. To fruition came only Metaxas' claim to the English for the integration of the Dodecanese islands with Greece, as reflected in his interview of 30 October 1940 and later in his other diplomatic and military actions.

Regarding Nelly's, it is interesting that at some point she was referred to as "the Greek Leni Riefenstahl" because of her collaboration with the 4th of August Regime (1936-1941), of which she was one of its most prolific photographers (she was commissioned to photographically record the celebrations of the 4th of August in 1937 and created another portrait of Metaxas in 1939) . As a Greek of the Diaspora, Nelly's view of Greece tended to be somewhat idyllic, which matched the propaganda aims of the dictatorial regime, led by Metaxas. In fact, her work helped illustrate the idea of the racial continuity of the Greeks since antiquity, which was within Metaxas' agenda. After Germany invaded Greece on 17 April 1941 (which Metaxas never saw because he died due to health complications in Athens on 29 January that year) and the consequent end of the 4th of August Regime, Nelly's left Greece for the United States, where she developed her talent in new disciplines such as advertising photography, photo-reportages.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2008]