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40 years of active presence

Sunday, October 1, 2023

    The Calligrapher

    NS’s artistic contribution might be better appreciated if his efforts to restore Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in Chania are taken in consideration. His crucial means of achieving success was his excellence in black-and-white drawings, as well as writing encouraging notes. “Jottings” and other publications, which have been the means of communication of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Etz Hayyim with its members, friends and supporters all over the world, were abundantly illustrated by NS’s drawings and calligraphy.

    Calligraphy has been his congenial technique used to express his deep appreciation of Eastern civilization, as well as to indicate his chosen religious identity. Being a specific kind of Hebrew visual cultural art, Hebrew calligraphy is one of the oldest forms of artistic writing. It has retained its basic rules for hundreds of years. A typical technique of this art, used also by NS, is to fill the whole width of the line, in order to produce a layout of the page between two vertical imaginary lines, by extending the square-shaped letters tav, bet, reish and final mem into rectangular shapes. However, Nikos Stavroulakis introduced innovations. He used letters not just to write sentences, but as constructive elements of design, in the manner that the result of his calligraphy is also a black-and-white drawing. He also used it to form sayings and prayers in cyclical or twisting shape, mainly to produce cards and illustrations. In this sense, his calligraphic work had autonomous existence and the Hebrew letters served not only as writing, but also as his design.

    Another group of his works consists of drawings accompanied by calligraphic verses, which although not necessary for the perfection of the drawings itself, stand as an explanation and in the same time they complement the illustration’s aesthetic form.