The Execution of Beloyannis | Peter de Francia | 1953

The Execution of Beloyannis | Peter de Francia | 1953

The Execution of Beloyannis | Peter de Francia | 1953

Peter de Francia is a French artist committed both politically and socially and uses in his paintings characters that are real or imaginary, but he uses a mythical language in all of his work.

Accused for dubious charges of espionage, the Greek communist leader Nikos Beloyannis is arrested along with several of his men and sentenced.

In front of the injustice, around the world begin a series of demonstrations demanding his release, because it was known that Beloyannis was only arrested for being a communist and that the charges for espionage were only and excuse.

Nikos Beloyannis

Nikos Beloyannis

These demonstrations were leaded by personalities of art and culture, such as Jean-Paul Sartre or Picasso, who adopt, as a symbol of the resistance, a picture of Beloyannis holding a red Carnation and that’s why became famous as the “man with the red carnation”. Picasso, even, performed a drawing of the man, sealing his commitment with the cause.

However, despite the international demand, Nikos Beloyannis was executed in 1952 next to 7 of his men.

The execution of Beloyannis is one of the largest de Francia’s paintings and shows us 3 bodies gunned down. To the left of the painting, we see Beloyannis, bald and holding his characteristic red carnation. If we look for an adjective for the painting, we would say that it is raw. The bodies, skinny and twisted, make us feel that life had just left them. The ideals, once transcendent, meet face to face with the materiality of death.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on October 25, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Execution of Beloyannis | Peter de Francia | 1953”


  2. Eigenlijk een domme daad vind ik achteraf. Men maakt van de mug een olifant.

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