Tomb of the national benefactor Georgios Averoff (1815-1899)

Seated statue. Sculptors: Georgios Vitalis (1838-1901) & Dimitrios Filippotis (1839-1919)

The tomb of the benefactor Georgios Averoff is one of the most significant monuments of the First Cemetery of Athens. It was erected in 1905 in the central square of the cemetery. The overall composition refers to the type of honorary monument dominant in the 19th century: an imposing type of mausoleum with a seated statue of the deceased and an underground crypt with a sarcophagus. The monument has a pyramidal structure with the seated figure of G. Averoff at the top, rendered in realistic idiom. His dynamic and respectable personality is visible. The rest of the monument follows a rather symbolic language. Four lions at the corners of the base symbolize glory and gratitude. The reliefs on the pedestal, in a classical idiom, refer to corresponding actions of G. Averoff. On the right, the divine figure crowning athletes refers to Averoff's donation for the renovation of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first Olympic Games were held in 1896. The relief on the left depicts Hephaestus and possibly Aphrodite.
The sculptor G. Vitalis prepared the plans, executed the lions and the reliefs on the pedestal. The rest of the monument, including the seated statue, was executed by the sculptor D. Filippotis.
George Averoff was born in Metsovo on August 15, 1815 and died in Alexandria, Egypt on July 15, 1899. He lived in Egypt, where he acquired a huge fortune and helped the Greek community of Alexandria by founding schools and hospitals. On April 22, 1908, the Greek government commissioned the ship "MIAOULIS" to repatriate the body of the national benefactor to Greece, in order to be buried in the First cemetery of Athens.

City of Athens, Department of Cultural Heritage, 2022

@ text: Katerina Tsatoucha. Georgia Antonopoulou

@ photos: Victoria Kaisari

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