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The orgies of Lesvos  c.1947 260x220cm
The orgies of Lesvos c.1947 260x220cm

Censored Works

This work was executed between 1947 and 1950 when Nonda was in his mid twenties. Certain early nudes and portraits had been exhibited in the Salon D’Automne in Paris, but the main works were shown for the first time in May of 1952 at the Parnassos Gallery in Athens. The opening caused an immediate scandal because of paintings which were considered “unethical”. The exhibition was deemed pornographic and “offensive to public decency” which resulted in its closure. To the surprise of the academic community and the board of the Parnassos venue, Spiros Vikatos, professor of art at the Athens School of Fine Art, publicly defended Nonda’s work as did other writers such as Stratos Mirivilis. In an ironic gesture, Nonda pinned fresh fig leaves over the offending nudity and was therefore allowed to reopen the gallery. Special black curtains were hung over the particularly “unethical” works, which bold viewers could look behind if they wished. This of course did nothing to protect the visitors delicate sensibilities, and insured a rising interest in the show. A vivid intellectual debate ensued in the leading newspapers which polarized the artistic community on the issue of censorship and Puritanism.