DIMITRIS TALAGANIS Democracy, Justice, Freedom: Stassinopoulos Michael 2002 - x +

CN: TalD2002stas

MT: bronze (45x60x4)

ED: 2/3

TX: signed by incision at lower left in Greek <Talaganis>, incised at upper center <STASSINOPOULOS MICHAEL>, at lower left <DEMOCRACY ◦ JUSTICE ◦ LIBERTY>

DN: Mr. Dimitris Talaganis - 2008

LC: Athens Laboratory of Business Administration - ALBA, Administration Offices Lobby, Level 2

CM: In 2002 the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens commissioned Dimitris Talaganis to create the portrait of Michael Stassinopoulos (1903-2003) in order to honor thus, during his lifetime, its former and prestigious Rector. No sooner had the artist completed the work, on 31 October 2002 , than he heard on the phone from the daughter of Stassinopoulos that her father 'shut his eyes'.

In 1974, Michael Stassinopoulos became the first President of the Hellenic Republic. One of the greatest jurists of international Jurisprudence in the 20 th century, Stassinopoulos is an insurpassable personality that left an indelible mark in the field of the Science of Law. He was an excellent President with a discreet character.

Talaganis created the portrait of Stassinopoulos from memory on the basis of the personal relationship he had with him in the past years. The face in profile is immediately recognizable. As a matter of fact, his daughter could not believe her eyes that his personality was conveyed as fine as she felt him. The work discussed here is an excellent example of relief art. The sculptural features are endowed with painterly qualities, which betray the knowledge the artist has of figuration. The work's plastic values evoke a metaphysical rendering for the atmospheric perspective of the composition. In its background the portrait is combined with a series of symbols - behind the sitter's back is a portion from the Propylea of the Panteion; across his gaze is the hill of the Acropolis with the Parthenon framed by the Owl and the Olive Tree of Athena; at the lower part are fragments from the edifice of the Hellenic civilization; and nesting in the cavity of his shoulder is Themis, divine protectress of Justice, in her classical guise with her eyes tied from impartial influences. The three words of the title - Democracy, Justice, Freedom - which are the motto of Panteion, preside on the civilization's foundation. With Stassinopoulos' election as first President of the Republic, especially after the fall of the Dictatorhsip, these three words claimed to become the founding stones of the Hellenic State.

From the original terracotta relief were produced three copies in bronze. The first bronze mounted on a marble stele was installed in the forecourt of the Panteion building in Athens. The unveiling ceremony was led by the then President of the Hellenic Republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos in November 2002. The second bronze was donated to The American College of Greece in 2008, while the third remains along with the original work in the collection of the artist.

[Megakles Rogakos 05/2008]