Chrysanthos Mentis Bostantzoglou
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Chrysanthos Mentis Bostantzoglou (Greek: Χρύσανθος Μέντης Μποσταντζόγλου, Constantinople 1918 – 13 December 1995) and better known under the pen name of Bost (Μποστ), was a prolific Greek political cartoonist, playwright, lyricist and painter.
His satirical cartoons and caricatures appeared in many papers such as I Avgi, Tachydromos and Eleftherotypia. Their radical political character (he stood unsuccessfully for election for left-wing parties on several occasions) led to a number of lawsuits.
(A fuller account of his life and works is posted on the Greek Wiki site in the external links below)
A Bost painting as political prisoner
In 1964 there was a debate in the Greek Parliament in which Ilias Iliou, parliamentary leader of the United Democratic Left (EDA), addressed the Prime Minister George Papandreou who had just triumphed in the elections of 19 February 1964 and proclaimed that “Democracy has won”. Iliou is also the Greek word for the prophet Elijah.
The newspaper I Avgi published a cartoon entitled “St George Triumphant and the Prophet Iliou” on 5 April 1964. It shows St George (with the features of Papandreou) in the classical pose on a horse, carrying a lance with a flag saying "Democracy has won", backed by a dragon marked "Law 375" and confronted by the prophet Ilijah with the features of Ilias Iliou carrying a screed saying "500,000 jobs needed". In traditional icons St George is often referred to as ‘Triumphant’ in this pose. The style of the cartoon is that of a Byzantine icon, often used by Bost.
Below, the legend is: "The Prophet Elijah exhorts George to kill the dragon [law 375] he has forgotten about on the day of the Pentacost, so that he should have a job". In other words Ilias Iliou reminds Papandreou that he needs to create 500,000 new jobs and do something about Law 375. This law bringing the death penalty for spying in general had been adopted to replace the laws passed during the civil war which made membership of the Communist Party punishable by death and had led to worldwide protests.
Later that year Bost made an oil painting on the same theme as the cartoon and gave it to Iliou as a present. In 1967 a military junta seized power. The police arrested Iliou at once and seized the painting also. So it became a political prisoner.
On 10 April 1973 the police summoned Iliou, by then freed, to come and collect the painting, which was to be released. When he got it back, Iliou glued to the back of the painting the official summons from the police, and a note in his own writing dated 11 April 1973 (see illustration). These translate as:
"CITIES POLICE Department No 3 of Athens
2 Ypsilantou St Tel 720216
No of summons: 443
To Mr Iliou, Ilias of 35 Voukourestiou St
You are requested to contact the Deputy Commissioner Mr Gotsis, Spyridon, during working hours at office no 417. The reason for the summons (705711, int. 126) is in order to collect a painting.
and (in the writing of Ilias Iliou):
"This picture was a “political prisoner from 23 April 1967 to 11 April 1973. All passes, nothing lasts for ever.
11th April 1973"
1945: "St Fanourios. Help through an understanding of the Chinese classics Gah-Chu and Wu-Svou-Ni"
1953: "Constantine Paleologos"
1959: "Sketches by Bost" (also published by Kastaniotis 1996 ISBN 960-03-1505-1)
1960: "My album"
1961: "Sketches and writings (First selection)"
1961: "The profession of my mother"
1962: "Falstaff" (play)
????: "Medea" (play)
????: "Don Quixote" (play)
????: "Beautiful city" (play)
????: "Romeo and Juliet" (play)
1972: "Sketches and writings (Second selection)" (also published by Kastaniotis 1996 ISBN 960-03-1506-X)
1982: "Maria Pentagiotissa" (play)
????: "40 years of Bost" (play)
1996: "Sketches 1973-4", publisher Kastaniotis 1996 ISBN 960-03-1507-8
1996: "Alilografeia me ton Kosta", publisher Nefeli ISBN 960-211-250-6
1998: "Short stories 1960-1965", publisher Hermes ISBN 960-320-076-X
"Bost", by Lalas, Thanasis, publisher Kastaniotis 1996 ISBN 960-03-1584-1