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by Archaeology Newsroom

Unknown sculptures by Yannoulis Chalepas and other Tenian artists. The neoclassical cemetery of Hagioi Pantes in Leonidion

The small town of Leonidion on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese became especially prosperous in the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century thanks to the commercial activities of its inhabitants both in Greece and abroad. The funerary monuments of the Neoclassical cemetery of Hagioi Pantes east of the town express the urban ideology prevailing at that time in the local society. Their creators were mainly artists from the island of Tenos. The Angel on the grave of Leonidas Oikonomou, although an unsigned work, is a distinct sculpture exhibiting simplicity and freedom of plasticity. Compared to its plaster cast this statue, which has been preserved in Tenos island can with certainty be assigned to Yannoulis Chalepas and, if dating from 1877, it can be be identified with the now lost “Angel of the Lord” by the same artist. The funerary stele on the grave of Nikolaos P. K. Politis, also an unsigned work, on the basis of the style and the prosopography, can be assigned to Yannoulis’ father, the sculptor loannis Chalepas, in whose papers this specific sculpture is mentioned. The professional relations of Yannoulis Chalepas with families of Leonidion are confirmed by drawings and sculptures in the possession of M. Gionis and N. Politis’ family. The marble bell-towers of three churches as well as other minor monuments reveal the variety of commissions given to Tenian sculptors by the small Arcadian town. The toponym “Koimomeni” (= Sleeping One) in Leonidion —that reminds one of the fair sculpture by Yannoulis Chalepas- and some inhabitants of the town who later settled on Tenos, testify to this day to the bond existing between the two places.