Art censorship as art criticism: fighting the sacrilegious and protecting the 'shell'

Thumbnail Image
Karaiskou, Vayia-Vicky
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Flinders University Department of Language Studies - Modern Greek
All rights reserved. Subject to the copyright act of 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying or recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
Rights Holder
Flinders University Department of Language Studies - Adelaide 2013
Art censorship in Greece since the establishment of the new Greek state in 1830 has been formulated in relation to the ideological patterns of national identity. The influence of Romanticism intensified references to ancient ancestors, legitimised the focus on tradition, and corresponded to the need of the newly formed Greek society to establish the country’s position as a cultural equal of the other European countries. Ever since, the constant calling of Greek society upon the symbols of national identity have created rigid ideological barriers in the country. The fine arts were expected to express higher values; sculpture in particular, owing to its public and monumental character, was connected to the concept of “nation” and assumed the role of helping to visualise its constituent elements. On the part of the audience, art critics included, censorship took the form of art criticism. Sculptors, on the other hand, had to self-censor their work by adapting themselves to the requirements of their environment. Modernity became an obvious target of animosity during the 20th century. The imminent danger supposedly posed involved contaminating the authenticity of “Greekness”. During the seven-year dictatorship (1967–1974) modernity was for the first time understood as protecting — instead of violating — the essence of national identity, because of its connection to political art revolting against the regime. During the past three decades, despite the radical changes the country has undergone, a peculiar kind of self-censorship exercised by the state — on the occasion of prominent official and public cultural events — has proved the use of culture as leverage for broader political views and resulted in an ongoing introversion.
Greek research, Greece, Australia
Karaiskou, V., 2013. Art censorship as art criticism: fighting the sacrilegious and protecting the 'shell'. In M. Tsianikas, N. Maadad, G. Couvalis, and M. Palaktsoglou (eds.) "Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Biennial International Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders University June 2011", Flinders University Department of Language Studies - Modern Greek: Adelaide, 274-288.