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Ioannis Varvakis

Marble three metre statue of Ioannis Varvakis at Zappeion Garden.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1872 Proclamation of contest.

    1884 In March, the sculpture was completed by Leonidas Drosis (1843-1884).

    1890 Placed.

    1910 According to reports of the time, the four figures that circle the sculpture were vandalized.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

This is the three-metre-tall marble statue of Ioannis Varvakis (1745-1825), a typical example of 19th century European sculpture, in which the basic form is situated on a high stepped pedestal. Varvakis is wearing a mantle that lends grandeur to the statue, with his left foot projected forward, body bent slightly to the right, while the right hand holds his will, which passed his entire property to the Greek state. The role of the four figures is honorific to the central figure and probably related to his life. They depict Freedom, Marine, Art and Industry. However, experts disagree on two of the four figures, which may be History and Thought.

What I can't see

Varvakis’ real name was Leontis, but he kept Varvakis as a nickname, which he was given in his birthplace of Psara and later became a title of nobility in Russia. He was a sailor who turned to piracy and fought in Orlofika for Catherine II of Russia against the Ottoman Empire. Under Catherine’s favour, he became a trader of caviar in Russia. With his wealth, he assisted the Greek Revolution financially, made ​​several donations to the Greek community of Russia and following his death donated most of his wealth to charitable causes. Among his benefactions were the Varvakios Market and Varvakios High School, which used to be situated in today’s Theatrou Square.


  • Address: Zappeion Garden


Antonopoulou Z., (2003), Τα γλυπτά της Αθήνας, Υπαίθρια Γλυπτική1834-2004 [The sculptures of Athens, Outdoor sculpting 1834-2004], Potamos


Asimomytis V.D. (2001), Ιωάννης Βαρβάκης, [Ioannis Varvakis], Kaktos


Koutouxiadou A., (d.u.), Η ευεργεσία στην εκπαίδευση, η κοινωνική διάσταση (19ος– αρχές 20ου), [Benafaction in education, the social extent (19th- beginning of 20th)], ΚΕΕ,


Papadaki E., (d.u.), 60 μορφές στο φως, [60 forms at light] Realmedia, in, 

Last visit 24/1/13