|Dimensions||13 × 20.5 cm|
Cafés and Comets After Midnight and Other PoemsModern Greek Classics
Translated by David Connolly
Derided and maligned more than any other Greek artist for his innovative and, at the time, often incomprehensible modernist experiments, Engonopoulos is today justifiably regarded as one of the most original artists of his generation and as a unique figure in Greek letters. Though he considered himself first a painter and only afterwards a poet, his poetry is widely read and admired, with many critical studies of his work appearing in recent years and with a growing recognition of its value and of its creative use of the Greek tradition and language. He enriched post-war Greek poetry with a host of poetic expressions, figures and images that have come to constitute part of the Greek poetic consciousness. In both his painting and poetry, he created a peculiarly Greek surrealism, a blending of the Dionysian and Apollonian, though always in keeping with basic surrealist tenets and, as such, his work is an important and original contribution not only to Modern Greek art and poetry but also to modern art and poetry worldwide.
Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-1985) was born in Athens with family roots in Constantinople on his father’s side and in Hydra on his mother’s side. In 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War, his family moved to Constantinople where he attended a private school. He continued his education in Paris as a boarder at high school from 1919 to 1927. After returning to Athens and completing his national service, he enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in 1932. With Greece’s entry into the Second World War in 1941, he was enlisted and served on the Albanian front. In 1945, he began teaching in the School of Architecture in the National Technical University of Athens, becoming a professor there in 1969. As a painter, he held many individual and group exhibitions both in Greece and abroad and represented Greece at the Biennale in Venice in 1954. He also designed the sets and costumes for numerous theatrical productions. He was twice awarded the National Prize for Poetry.