The olive is a tree of imposing grandeur that radiates spiritual strength and has a many-sided personality. It has always been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for poets, writers and artists and it has been a profound influence on modern Greek art. Major figures, such as the artist Theophilos, the poet Ritsos, Engonopoulos, the anonymous sculptor of Tinos, the poets Palamas and Seferis, the writers Mavilis, Prevelakis and Moralis. So deep is the influence in art of the olive tree, that one may even see children’s art depicting the tree.
Modern Greek art depicts the olive tree in all its aspects. It has produced naturalistic depictions of the tree and its landscape in all their forms. Alongside the physical dimension of the tree, contemporary artists, however, have viewed the tree as a metaphor. Every aspect of the symbolism of the tree is linked to trends in contemporary art, which however, are the heirs to the artistic traditions of the Classical past. The olive tree functions as a point of reference throughout the history of art.
•Hellenic Folklore Research Center (Academy Of Athens)ODE TO THE OLIVE TREEISBN: 960-404-054-5