April 13, 2024

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She was the queen of Avignon from Chanak-Calais

She was the queen of Avignon from Chanak-Calais

In 1954 AD Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Gikas He painted his picture Thanos moray velodio (1895-1992), where this distinguished and distinguished Greek (aviator, folklorist, Greek embroiderer, composer, actor, fantasist, etc.) is depicted with a ceramic winged horse, and Pegasus. We see this same horse in a portrait of Philodius among the objects in his collection. The horse was the work of a Kokenya potter Demetrius MigdalinosWhich was discovered by Velodius in 1925.

Magdalenos was a refugee from Chanak Kali Ha Asia Minor He worked his ceramics based on the special – and today very well-known – forms of Chanak Kali ceramics (colour, enlargement, anthropomorphism, etc.). Philodius described Migdalenus as “large-boned, of good stature, too taciturn for conversation, oriental, with slightly prominent cheekbones, and very skillful hands with nautical miracleid tattoos…”

Migdalinus was not the only potter in Asia Minor. We know that ceramic factories “Cyutachia” And the most legendary “Ceramic” They were created in the 1920s by refugee potters who came from cities in northwest Asia Minor and had a ceramic tradition: Kanak Kali, Ayvali, Kyutakhya. For example, Minas Avramidis (1877-1954) was born in Kiutahia, worked in Piraeus and then in Thessaloniki. better known ya Panos Valsamakis (1900-1986) Born in Ayvali and from 1930 to 1942 he managed the “Kerameikos” factory.

Sophie Bass writes: “The animal constructions of the Greek potters at Kanakkali, whose strangeness attracted the attention of all visitors passing through Asia Minor, were essentially ridiculous.”

We meet Migdalinos, Avramides and Valsamakis in the pages of her enchanting book Sophie Bass “Souvenir of the Dardanelles”, in which Kanak Kali ceramics are examined in a more general cultural and aesthetic context, outside their place of production. French-Belgian professor of comparative literature at the Sorbonne University, Sophie Bass, uses her method Cultural archaeologyshows how 'folk' and 'peasant' ceramics in Kanak Kali relate to the movement Arts and Craftsby Japanesewith the aesthetic currents that have been renewed editingDecorative arts and design of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ceramics was at the heart of this change.

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A jug of Kanak Kali, a painted horse. Petrus Fergus Collection.

Canak Kale means “clay castle,” and this city on the Dardanelles coast in Asia Minor apparently got its name from its “specialty” in ceramics. Until the time of the revival of interest in ceramics, around 1870, Kanak Kali ceramics did not seem worthy enough for inclusion in private or ethnographic collections, let alone museum collections.

Η Sophie Bash.

Sophie Bass writes: “The animal constructions of the Greek potters at Kanakkali, whose strangeness attracted the attention of all visitors passing through Asia Minor, were essentially ridiculous.”

Ultimately, what led to the re-evaluation of Dardanelles pottery and its popularity? a lot. First of all, there is a mythological revisionist aesthetic trend known as Japonism. At the Paris International Exposition of 1878, Japan's arts were deified. The pottery in particular is distinguished by its true colors and the nature of its design.

Japanese, as a new version of it Orientalism, served as a catalyst for European Romanticism, breathing new life into popular sources and renewing interest in them. “Without the Japanese, without the little wonders that began to spread between 1875 and 1885, and which, when they fell into the midst of our vulgar tastes, first surprised and soon delighted us, then angered and disturbed us, who would have thought of becoming a potter?” The French potter wrote in 1913 William Lee (French despite the English name) in his book “L'art de lapoterie – Japan-France – Par un Potier” (The Art of Pottery – Japan-France – by the potter).

But were the Japanese and French Art Nouveau movements and their corresponding British Arts and Crafts movement sufficient to completely re-evaluate and restore Kanak Kale ceramics? Sophie Bass also adds the factor of archaeology, and more specifically its excavations Eric Schliemann In Troy. “Near Chanak Kali Hisarlik Hill“The pottery, which was identified with Homer's Troy, radically changed the status of this pottery, which effectively became part of the archaeological heritage,” writes Sophie Bass.

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The catalytic moment came after the first exhibition of the Treasure of Troy, which was held in 1877 and 1878 in South Kensington Museum in London London, now known as Victoria and Albert Museum. Visitors were greeted with a large vase found in Priam's supposed home.

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Sophie Bach, souvenirs from the Dardanelles, Kanak Kale ceramics, from Schliemann's excavations to Japanese,
Translated by: Ephigenia Potoropoulou, ed. to cut

The vase was anthropomorphic, as it had the head of an owl and female breasts, elements referring to the goddess Athena. Sophie Bass writes: “This alone was sufficient to identify the animal-headed vessels from Kanak Kali as direct descendants of Trojan pottery.”

We all know his work artist “Avignon pests”One of the most famous paintings of the twentieth century. Here the Catalan painter depicts the prostitutes of Avignon Street in Barcelona. But long before the creation of this work (1907) in the south of France, especially in the Provence region, female-shaped jugs from Chanac-Calais were known as “Miss of Avignon”. These jugs, whose opening was at the point of the hood, were very popular in urban homes in Provence.

“It was already fashionable in the late 19th century to have Kanak Kali ceramics in the homes of the bourgeoisie.” These jugs were passed down from generation to generation and we see them today in many collections in southern France. The center of diffusion of Chanac ceramics was Calais in southern France Marseille. Merchant ships carrying goods returned to Constantinople laden with Dardanelles porcelain.

Thanos Moraes-Philodius is among his collections. In the foreground, a winged horse of Migdalenus and two lions of Kanak Kali can be seen. Image provided by Demosthenes Agrafiotis.

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Exhibition of Antiquities Excavated from Troy by Schliemann, Illustrated London News, 5 January 1878.

The potter Panos Valsamakis, who was born, as we have seen, in Ayvali, immediately after the Asia Minor disaster, left to study in Marseilles. He lived there for seven years, from 1923 to 1930, studying painting and ceramics in Provençal workshops. It is certain that in Marseille he had seen the ceramics of Chanak Kali, the “Queen of Avignon.” Europe's passion for pottery highlights its special identity. Because, as Sophie Bass writes in the conclusion to her book, Kanak Kali ceramics, these humble objects made of clay, speak so much about identity and emotion.

Poet and theorist Demosthenes agrafiotisIn his particularly informative introduction to the “Greek Destiny” of Kanak Kale ceramics, he wrote that Bass’s book presents, through these ceramics, “all the drama and all the fantasies of cultural becoming on a planetary horizon.” The translation was signed by Iphigenia Potoropoulou, who died around the same time as the book's publication.

The green lion of Kanak Kali. Private collection, Niyazi Onen.

The Courtses family in Iasos, Lesvos. Courtses Family Archives.

Nikos Chatzikyriakos-Gikas, Still Life with Ceramics and Mirrors, 1975-1976, color lithograph, Benaki Museum 2023, Athens. Petrus Fergus Collection.

Arsène Alexandre, Jean Carey, 1895

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The article was published in LiFO print.

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