The City of Athens initiates a large-scale project to maintain and restore outdoor sculptures in the city centre and the neighbourhoods.

Showing its respect for public space artworks and the artists who created them, the City of Athens, through the Department of Cultural Heritage (Department of Urban Planning and Urban Environment), proceeds with the maintenance and restoration of the outdoor sculptures under the supervision and special care of antiquities and artworks conservators.

This morning, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, visited Evangelismos park, where a few days ago, the “Little Girl”, a work created by the sculptor AntonisSochos, was found destroyed. Together with two groups of students from the Marasleion School – 10th-grade students of the 26th High School and the Experimental Primary School – the Mayor attended the first restoration work by experts. In a statement, MrBakoyannis said:

“Every act of vandalism is an “open wound” for the City, thus devaluing the purpose of sculpture in public space, historical memory, beauty and art itself. So, showing its respect to the historical and important figures depicted in the works, the artists themselves and their work, the City is doing the obvious: Collaborating with scientific staff, it is methodically and persistently repairing the ‘wounds’ of the public artworks. The task is difficult, requiring time and resources, but we have the will and the reflexes to prevent the deterioration of our cultural heritage”.

In recent weeks, as part of the project “Maintenance of public sculptures”, the City has proceeded with the following:

– Maintenance of 2 sculptures (Al. Panagoulis, “Emerging Venus”).

– Graffiti removal and protection with anti-graffiti coating on five sculptures (Plato, Signs of Structure, Lor. Mavilis, P. Gyparis, Queen Olga), while the cleaning and restoration of the TheodorosKolokotronis statue pedestal on Stadiou Street are scheduled to start soon.

– Replacement of stolen sculptures.

– Dealing with serious vandalism (Little Girl) as an emergency.

Wear and tear damage restoration.

To restore the monuments that have deteriorated naturally over time, for the first time last December, the City proceeded with the maintenance of the AlekosPanagoulis statue by the sculptor AchilleasVasileiou and the sculptural composition ” Emerging Venus”, by D. Armakolas, at the fountain of Ermou Street, which had multiple layers of salts and structural stability issues. Therefore, it was transferred to a maintenance workshop for its restoration and safety and will be reinstalled soon.

Graffiti removal 

The Department of Cultural Heritage of the City of Athens has cleaned the bust of Plato (in the Academy of the same name) from graffiti, the work “Signs of Structure” by the sculptor KlearchosLoukopoulos in Brazilias Square, the marble bust of Queen Olga by GeorgiosDimitriadis in the Evangelismos Park, as well as the statue of Lorenzo Mavilis in the square of the same name, by Peter Roubos, which had black pigment on its face.

At the same time, graffiti removal works from the bust of Captain P. Gyparis in Polygon are in progress. Moreover, cleaning the TheodorosKolokotronis statue pedestal, created by LazarosSochos, is expected to start soon.

A case of systematic vandalism is Plato’s bust, which has been scientifically cleaned five times. The cleaning process may concern more than one point, extending to the whole artwork.

Replacement of stolen sculptures

The restoration program also includes stolen sculptures. Some are found damaged and vandalised and are being restored, like the bust of Colonel D. Psarros, found years ago in poor condition – following a theft – and stored for years. Its conservation is about to be completed, and the statue will return soon to public space. At the same time, two more busts are considered to be maintained and restored. Recasting is also an option for some other stolen sculptures, permanently lost.

The outdoor “treasure” of Athens

The City of Athens hosts about 250 sculptures in parks, squares and pedestrian streets. They are statues, busts, honorary sculptures and sculptural compositions, neoclassical or contemporary, from realism and representation to symbolism and abstraction.

“The child, the city and the monuments”

Showing its respect for public space art and monuments, the City of Athens has introduced the program “The child, the city and the monuments” under the auspices of her Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic, KaterinaSakellaropoulou. The program aims to raise awareness for the care of the city and its monuments. Pupils from schools in Athens attend, in organised visits, the sculptures’ restoration process. To date, a total of 318 schools, 690 teachers and 9,250 pupils have participated in the program.

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