The Dance of Zalongo - Zongolopoulos Giorgos

Zongolopoulos Giorgos (1903 - 2004)

The Dance of Zalongo, 1953

Bronze, 131 x 174 x 39 cm

Inv. Number Π.3115
On view National Glyptotheque

Giorgos Zongolopoulos worked with figurative depiction centered on the human being for a considerable period of time before moving on to completely abstract compositions. The realistic portraits he did, by and large before 1940, were succeeded by full-bodied figures with a steadily growing intensification of the simplified and schematic forms, particularly apparent in the Fifties.

The “Dance of Zalongo” was made at the beginning of the Fifties and is a study for the large white stone monument which was erected in Zalongo in 1961, in remembrance of the heroic act of the women of Souli, who, while dancing, fell down a precipice in order to avoid to get captured by the Turks. The composition aimed at the elevation of the monument so it would be visible from a great distance as well as its harmonization with the wild and imposing landscape. Its outline formed a triangle which contains four women holding each other by the hand. Rendered with exceptional austerity, these women grow gradually smaller in size and become more and more schematic, till the final one is little more than a compact volume, completely abstract. This successive development of the figures, which were erected as if they were otherworldly visions, lends the work rhythm and grandeur, while at the same time they harmoniously combine the empty with the full, an element that would particularly occupy Zongolopoulos in his later work as well.