Sunday, November 12, 2006

A day on the marbles ...

Today I hit the museum marble again, this time the National Gallery. It houses one of my favourites of the favourites, one of the most stunning impressionists known to mankind and almost unknown outside Greece. It is a piece from Iakovos Rizos from 1897 called Athenian Evening (see annex). If a copy looks pretty marvellous, the original just about knocks your socks off!

I am no art critic (shut it!) and I won't pretend to be exhaustive either, but here are some personal comments.

It is mentioned that due to the all revealing light impressionism never really caught on in Mediterranean countries, and Greece is no exception. That be as it may, it hasn't prevented the Greeks from bringing forth some very good impressionist (and later expressionist) painters. I want to mention here Nikolaos Gysis (1842-1901), Markos Zavitzianos (1884-1923), Thaleia Flora-Koravia (1871-1960) and many more. For anyone visiting Athens, this is certainly a must visit.
There are also some very impressive modern realists and pieces of Nikos Nikolaou (1909-1986) which is bordering the naive.
One very curious piece I'd like to mention is by Agenor Asteriadis (1898-1977), a sort of modern rendition of a medieval overview of the port of Piraeus.
What stands out (but it may be lurking elsewhere) is the lack of the (subsidized) efforts which are so prominent and over-represented in Western Europe. A lack of funds can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. The worst I've seen in the National Gallery today is still a lot better than some of the misguided novelties passing for master pieces that I've seen in the West.
Having been somewhat involved in municipal art acquisition policy in my former town of residence, I think I have said and written enough on the subject, which - if it weren't for the huge amounts of public money and the lack of democratic checks and balances involved - is not that interesting to begin with.


len said...

I have been trying for years to find a source for a print of Rizos' "Athenian Evening"
Can anyone help?

Cassandra said...

Hi 1en, nice to hear from you. I suppose you are located outside of Greece? That time I was at the Tinakothiki the shop didn't have any replacas of "Athenian Nights", but I'll be going again soon for another exhib and I can ask if they have them available this time. If you promise to take it off my hands and pay also for the shipping, I can buy you one. If that's okay please send me some particulars by privat email at: "". Yasou.