Είστε εδώ

English

CHRONOLOGY OF GEORGE DROSSINIS LIFE

1859 Born in Athens in Plaka neighbourhood.

1879 His first verses published in the “Rambagas” magazine.

1880 He published his first poem collection.

1881 He published his book “Agrotikai Epistolai”

1885 He studied in Germany.

1889 He became a Director of the “Hestia” magazine which he transforms into a daily newspaper in 1894.

1899 He became Secretary of the Association for the Dissemination of Useful Books (Σ.Ω.Β.)

1908 He undertakes the reform of Primary Education in the Ministry of National Education.

1909 He discovered the “Sevastopouleios Technical Professional School”.

1922 He published the novel “Ersy”.

1923 He became a Director of the Decorative Arts Museum.

1926 Foundation of the Academy of Athens in which he was appointed Publications Secretary.

1932 He published his poems collection “Eipe”.

1939 He settled definitely in Villa “Amaryllis”, Kifissia.

1940 He published his memories under the title “Scattered Leaves of my Life”

1945 He published his novel “Irini”.

1951 He died in Kifissia.

 

A REVIEW OF GEORGE DROSSINIS LIFE

If Drossinis roots are to be found in Messolonghi on his father’s side and in Chios on his mother’s, he himself was born in Athens in 1859, where he lived all his childhood. After having studied Law and Literature at the University of Athens, in Greece, he left for Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin in Germany, to complete his education studying german, the history of Art and Philosophy, for which, by the force of circumstances, he never got a degree. Later on, thanks to his position as the Head of Primary Education at the Ministry of Education, he had a decisive role in the education of youth by reforming teaching and school organization. More particularly, he paid particular attention to the subjects taught, and he also introduced gymnastics, sports and target practice into schools. He instituted the daily ceremony of saluting the flag. He also in¬troduced basic school hygiene improved the furniture and established the right to sickness leave for teachers.

He organized the meeting in Greece of the first education congress.

He also had equally the idea of discovering a school for the blind.

Although he did not received financial aid from the state to establish this school, Iphigenia, the wife of wealthy Greek benefactor Andreas Syngros allowed him to send Irene Laskaridou to trained in France and became the first professor for the blind in Greece.

The school materialized several years later, thanks to the funds of G. Drossinis had managed to collect, and was installed at Kallithea where it is still today. G. Drossinis published articles on this subject in various papers, and he also published books suitable for the blind.

Well aware of the need to develop his country, G. Drossinis founded a Technical School where the students could get a professional training along with other subjects taught there. The school included a dormitory, a refectory, a big garden as recreational playground and physical execise practice area. On the left of the ground where it was built, there still ex-ists, to this day, the Supervisor’s house where G. Drossinis lived for six years to ensure that the school followed the principles that he had decreed.

For several years, G. Drossinis was Secretary Genera! at the Ministry of Education, a place that allowed him, inter alia, to separate the School of Fine Arts from the School of Industrial Trades, to support the Thessaloniki Conservatoire and to be at the origin of laws relating to women’s education.

The Second World War forced him to interrupt the publication of the first dictionary of the Greek language that he had undertaken to issue.

In 1947, he was nominated for the Nobel prize for Literature on his whole work, but the prize was awarded to Andre Gide.

G. Drossinis, who also became the first Publications Secretary of the Athens Academy, which was founded in 1926, and instituted the prize medal for the sciences and letters with which he himself was later decorated.

After having left his office at the Ministry of Education, G. Drossinis was entrusted, in agreement with the Archeological Society of Greece, to assume responsibility for the Turkish Mosque of the Voevoda Mustapha Agha Tzistarakis situated at the Monastiraki place in Athens, which he transformed into a popular Art Museum with the objects stored in the basement of the Ministry of Education. This collection was completed by the popular art treasures collected in the Islands and the Villages of Greece, as well as by private collections offered by friends.

 

VISIT TO THE MUSEUM

The Big Room

 

The ground floor of the Villa “Amaryllis” is presently occupied by the Administration Offices and the rooms of the Kifissia Municipal Library. The Museum, occupies the entrance to the three rooms on the floor of this building.

The inside court, dominated by a bust of George Drossinis in a corner, is fitted out as, a tiered open air amphitheatre for various spectacles, conferences and other cultural events, that take place there at the time of the year when the weather is good.

On the other side of the court, the old mews has been fitted out as conference and projection room, notably to serve school children groups who, in this way, complete their visit to the Museum. The walls are decorated with various pictures and photographs referring to the work of the Poet, as well as a board of paintings and stickers made up by school children and showing G. Drossinis’ family tree.

 

THE MAIN BUILDING

The big central room or folklore room

The big room shows the heroes of G. Drossinis’ various books. The visit is to be carried out from right to left.

 

“Agrotikai Epistolai”

“Agrotikai Epistolai” (Rural letters) is the title of G. Drossinis’ first novel. It is made up of letters inspired by the rural life of the Island of Euboea. G. Drossinis lived in Gouves, a Village in the north of the Island, from the age of 17 to 25 years. He resided there in a farm flanked by a big tower. It had been given as a dowry to the writer’s father, notably connected with Greece history. Having become independent after four centuries of Ottoman occupation, Greece was poor. Its inhabitants did not have the means to buy the lands which still belonged to Turks, so the government had allowed foreigners to acquire them, in the hope that the day would come when the Greeks would, in their turn, be able to buy them back.

This was the way that Rudolf von Wild, a German Swiss, had bought Corbatsi, the Village nearest to Gouves. Thanks to his technical knowledge, Rudolf von Wild had installed machines on his land to crush the olives and to extract olive oil from them. He also built there a big, two storey house, with up to 17 luxuriously furnished rooms, where he iived from 1875 to 1888 with his wife and their children, as well as with his mother and his niece. G. Drossinis had known this family and greatly admired the niece, Helen Weiss. He admired her wonderful paintings representing landscapes from the area surrounding the Village, and also country scenes, seeing in her the ideal woman. Charcoal sketches by Helen Weiss are presented in coloured reproductions. Two of her intimate diaries, as well as photographs of this family are displayed on the wall to the right next to the entrance.

There are references to several of the best known works of G. Drossinis, in the form of paintings, engravings and effigies relating to Greek subjects, religious subjects or expressions of female beauty.

 

“Amaryllis”

Under this title G. Drossinis presents in one of his novels the ideal woman, a young girl of 20, very beautiful, clever, cultured, graduated in Philosophy, loving children and nature, faithful to Stephanos whom she met in the Island of Euboea and who, having become the husband she adored, forms with her an ideal couple.

Her effigy is shown standing wearing a long white robe, a basket full of cherries in her hand and cherries hanging from her ears. On the wall above her, a painting shows amaryllis, flowers sharing her name and G. Drossinis favourites.

Behind her and above the writing desk, is to be found the Museum’s last acquisition: the photograph of Adela Thomas Boyd, an American friend of G. Drossinis had met when he was 27. This photograph is shown in a frame, surrounded by twelve sheets from a calendar that Adela Thomas Boyd had painted in 1888 and offered to G. Drossinis. Forty seven years later, Adela, now a widow and dispirited, contacted him by letter. That was the beginning of a correspondence through which the Poet tried to console her - lavishing on her the necessary advice to face the difficult years of her life’s twilight. A painting showing the place of their first meeting and, accidentally having reached our Museum, is displayed just underneath.

On a reading desk, a chest of plexiglas contains an album of 100 engravings that G. Drossinis had printed at the time of his stay at Leipzig, Germany. This album, offered to Kings and other personalities of note, originates from an order of the weekly magazine “ESTIA”. This magazine, which became a daily paper in 1894, thanks to G. Drossinis, and still exists today in this form.

 

“The blossoming almond tree”

A spring afternoon in 1880, G. Drossinis was looking at his sister Katia (Catherine) and at his cousin Drossina, played in the garden. Having shaken a Seville orange tree in blossom, Drossina’s hair and shoulders were covered in blossom, turning her all white. This vision inspired G. Drossinis to write his poem “The blossoming almond tree” which he published in 1882 in the “Rambagas” review. Made into a song, it enjoyed a huge success. Sung for over 100 years, it is still on the lips of the Greeks.

Referring to the success of the poem, G. Drossinis used to say:

“I have written several poems which are much better ones, but everything on this earth has its own destiny”.

The effigy of Drossina is on the corner of the room under a blossoming almond tree.

 

Athanassios Diakos

Opposite the entrance and near Drossina’s effigy is to be found that a young man wearing the Greek national dress of the Euzones, the “foustanella”, wearing the “tsarouhia” on his feet. He is Athanassios Diakos, deacon and a fervent patriot who fought against the Turks at the time of the War of Independence.

History relates that having been captured by the Turks, they proposed to set him free if he converted to Islam. He refused and was executed by being impaled, declaring before he died “Look what time death has chosen to carry me away: now that the branches are blossoming and the grass is growing”.

This phrase inscribed in the books issued to the soldiers to raise their moral, is still famous and appears to this day in the school books.

In his writings, G. Drossinis describes in detail this story he had heard from an old soldier, Dimos, who had fought alongside Athanassios Diakos. Dimos, in extreme old age at the time, was living near the Poet’s home in the Island of Euboea, and often used to have dinner in his house. Then he used to relate to him stories he had lived at the time of the War of Independence that G. Drossinis was to repeat as faithfully as possible in his books.

On the wall behind Athanassios Diakos there is a particularly expressive engraving of the gypsy girl “Zephyra”. The latter refers to G. Drossinis’ novel “The love potion” where Zephyra assumes the role of the witch who prepares the love potion meant to keep prisoner her lover Yannis imprisoned. Henri Tonnet, Professor at the Sorbonne University of Paris, analysing this book considers G. Drossinis to be the first and one of the most important writers of manners in modern Greece.

On the other side of the door - window are two libraries with glazed doors. The one on the right contains original manuscripts of the works of G. Drossinis, as well as various other manuscripts that had belonged to his family, some of which dated from 1825.

 

The grandfather and his grandchildren.

On the front of the second library, is the effigy of an old man sitting on an armchair telling stories to his two grandchildren who are kneeling close to him. It symbolizes the work done by G. Drossinis who has published many stories for children, including adaptations of tales from Andersen, of the brothers Grimm and Perrault, aiming to give children a moral education through amusing stories.

A bust of Napoleon I offered to G. Drossinis is placed in a glass case containing various objects in porcelain, crystal and silver which have belonged to the family of the latter. This bust inspired the poem he wrote in 1921 on the centenary of Napoleon’s death.

 

“Ersy”

In his novel “Ersy”, written in the demotic, the modern Greek language, G. Drossinis relates the story of a love marriage, the joy of a young couple and of their happiness of living together in a port situated in an Island. This happiness is strengthened by the mutual desire to raise a deaf and dumb child, one of the heroes of this novel.

The story is hinted at by the garden table and the two straw chairs placed under a kiosk on the corner of the room, opposite the entrance after the french doors. As described in this book, a breakfast was served while waiting for the couple.

In the following glass case are displayed various everyday objects dating from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

On the left corner of the room which is covered with traditional wall tapestries, stands the effigy of the “beautiful young girl” (Eumorfoula in Greek) appearing dressed in the traditional costume of the Island of Euboea. It refers to the title of a poem G. Drossinis wrote after the death of his first love, which however remained wholly platonic. Of this poem he was saying: “if all my works were to be lost, this one should be saved”.

The representation of Eumorphoula is accompanied by different everyday objects of which the greater part is unknown to the present generation, but which were usual in the country homes at the time.

 

Keti Manou

Before leaving the big room, by the side of the entrance there is a “tete - à -tete” type of sofa that belonged to the Poet. G. Drossinis who used to settle there for a long time together with his last muse, Keti Manou, to recite verses to her.

 

“Irini”

Irini (Irene) - “peace” in Greek - is the title of the last novel which G. Drossinis wrote during the interwar years. It was not, however, published till 1945. Actually, the Poet categorically refused to publish anything during the war and the German occupation.

On a small round table is a vase full of red roses, a letter and an embroidered handkerchief, are displayed as described in an extract of the book.

 

The right room or literature room

To be visited from right to left

All the walls of this room are covered with wall glass cases in which the spirit, the works and the activities of G. Drossinis reign supreme. The works, displayed here, all written by him, are classified in chronological order.

In the wall glass cases to the right of the entrance, dedicated to G. Drossinis as a poet and a writer, amongst the original edition of all his books, his novel “Amaryllis” (1885) is displayed in various copies of different editions.

It enjoyed a tremendous success at the time and was translated into eight languages, contributing to bring G. Drossinis to the threshold of the novel prize.

Above are to be found rare scores, works of different composers who set several of his poems to music. If it is no longer possible to listen to all of them there is no doubt however that all Greeks still know the most famous of them all that was set to music, the poem “Anthismeni Amygdalia” (blossoming almond tree).

On the following wall, a small glass case with four shelves contains various volumes of a contemporary essay on the life and the complete works of G. Drossinis, an essay on which University Professor Yannis Papakostas is still working. At the bottom of this case is displayed a drawing by Dimitrios Biskinis, the Painter, showing the face of a young woman. This portrait was specifically painted to embellish the cover of G. Drossinis’ poetical collection, “Eipe” (“He said”), and its miniature reproduction was to serve him as a seal later on.

The objects displayed next, a tribute to G. Drossinis as a journalist. A large glass case with four shelves is full of weekly review “ESTIA” copies. On the highest shelf are objects related to G. Drossinis, journalist profession. Among them is the photograph of Pavlos Melas, a young officer who fought several clashes in the north of Greece at the time of Macedonia’s struggle for liberation. G. Drossinis came to his aid, when he was Editor of “ESTIA”, by writing articles appealing to Greek patriotism. An inscription next to Pavlos Melas photograph informs the visitor on the subject.

Up on the wall appears the first edition of “ESTIA” as a daily paper. “Hestia” still exists in the form which G. Drossinis gave it in 1894 when he turned the weekly magazine into a daily paper. The photograph of the newspaper’s head office is shown in a frame with a text referring to G. Drossinis activities related to his collaboration with the newspaper.

In a glass case placed against the wall and amongst other books there is a special edition of “ESTIA” in 1888 dedicated to the 25 years of King George I’s reign. This colour edition was exceptional for the time, which gives a unique value.

On the same wall, is a series of photographs showing the unveiling in Syros of Admiral Andrea Miaoulis’ statue, hero of the Greek War of Independence. G. Drossinis appears at this ceremony in his capacity as Official Correspondent of the “Ephemeris” newspaper.

On the next display table, are shown manuscripts, letters, translations, visiting cards that belonged to the Poet. Below them lie tens of files containing newspaper issues which appears articles concerning the Poet or even writings of his own. A fuller collection of these papers exists in the Museum basement.

Above the table, six walls cases contains, books of greek and foreign magazines to which G. Drossinis contributed several texts.

The wall to the left of this room contains G. Drossinis works as an Editor. To its full length, numerous books, notably published by the Association for the Dissemination of Useful Books, filled in the glass cases and are classified according to various series: the red series corresponds to the period of 1900 to 1908; the green series to that between 1908 and 1940; publications from 1919 to 1926 about the Nation; a series called “Ethnographical and Historical Library” (1927 to 1939); magazines publications (1907 to 1926); editions about musical folklore archives (1935 to 1938); books for children (1940); a study (Meleti), of national editions, editions about the “Diaspora”; literary series as well as the “Hellenica” series of which some books were wholly written by G. Drossinis.

In a frame near the door are a photograph of loannis Athanassakis, first President of the Greek Red Cross, and a letter in the form of personal biography he had sent to G. Drossinis. In those days, it was common practice to express one’s confidence and high consideration in this way to a person dear to one another.

Underneath is to be found a board showing G. Drossinis family tree. Finally, in the center of this room, a glass case contains the Poet’s personal objects: coloured pencils, gunpowder for cartridges (G. Drossinis was known as a hunter, but also as a fisherman), two pairs of spectacles, watches, as well as various other items.

 

The room to the left or the intimacy room

It is to be visited from right to left

The room to the left was the Poet’s bedroom. Beyond the Poet, it is the man that we are meeting now.

Behind the door of the room hangs the period photograph of the house where the Poet was born at Plaka, a very old neighbourhood of Athens, just under the Acropolis.

The books placed in the libraries retrace the life and the work of G. Drossinis. On the same wall near the corner, four very old icons that belonged to his family and a crucifix lighted by a silver oil lamp on which Saint George appears killing the dragon, recall that the Poet was a man of deep faith respectful of Christian values.

Opposite the entrance a series of paintings and photographs shows him in different ages of his life surrounded by the portraits of his father Christos, of his brother Stratos, of his elder daughter Angela and of his younger daughter Amalia standing next to her husband Johann von Planta (a German Swiss origin), and also to the coat of arms of the von Planta Family.

On the corner of the room near the window, on a small right table that was part of the original furniture of the Poet’s bedroom, stands the first replica of Hygeia΄s Head, the goddess of health, offered to G. Drossinis by the Italian plastician Giovannini whom he had appointed to the service of the Museum of the Ministry of National Education.

A number of objects related to the Technical Professional School he founded are shown here. We see there in particular the memorial marble plate brought to Kifissia by G. Drossinis himself when the School was closed down as a result of the Second World War.

On a column stands a small statue of the Venus of Melos, then next to it, on a table, a vase with seven red dahlias. The first page of a Greek newspaper of the time displayed on the lectern allows one to tie together these signs. Actually the paper reports that a young girl of twelve years old, Beatrice Kotta, when visiting the Louvre Museum one day together with her parents, surreptitiously slipped under the statue of the Venus of Melos which she greatly admired, the copy of a poem by G. Drossinis dedicated to Venus. The years passed by and shortly before the Second World War, the statue was transported to another room of the Museum. The manager of the Louvre Museum having found the copy of the poem, contacted the Poet and told him about the discovery. G. Drossinis, very touched, searched for Beatrice who had meanwhile became Mrs Stamatopoulou. He invited her to his https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/acheter-du-viagra/ place and she arrived bringing in her arms red dahlias. Both of them, deeply touched, talked about the poem “Venus of Melos” and of Venus’ sorrow being far away from her native Village in the Island of Melos thus sweetening the twilight of Drossinis’ life.

On the wall are displayed photographs, copies of the Official Gazette and also dictionaries testifying to G. Drossinis work at the Ministry of National Education.

Further away, a small revolving library contains reading books dating from 1884, and also the first reading schoolbooks signed by G. Drossinis.

The numerous decorations bestowed on G. Drossinis are shown on the wall above the library. Among these, features the diploma certifying his rise to the rank of knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour bestowed on him in 1924 by the French government to thank him for his efforts aiming and strengthening the French - Greek friendship. The culminating point of all this was the ceremony on the Acropolis in 1865 during which the poem “Prayer on the Acropolis” was recited. This poem was by Ernest Renan, father - in- law of the Greek writer Yannis Psycharis, a friend of G. Drossinis.

There follows an effigy of G. Drossinis in his old age, sitting in a straw armchair where he used to sit, with a blanket on his knees - a gift from his friend Elda Nazou -holding in his hands a copy of the “ESTIA” newspaper.

Behind this armchair, a glass case contains several of his personal objects: a black telephone, books in French, cigar boxes, sketches offered by the Sculptors Michalis Tombros and loannis Vitsavis finally a small bust of the Greek Poet Kostis Palamas, a very dear friend of G. Drossinis.

On the wall above this glass case is to be found the framed manuscript of his last will dated 1942.

Finally, the pictures and the carpet that adorned his bedroom are always there in the places they occupied during his lifetime.