Monday 30 January 2017

Yannis Tsarouchis- Illustrating an Autobiography - Part Two

Illustrating an Autobiogtaphy - Part Two, Yannis Tsarouchis at the Benaki Museum, Pireos.

This is the second part of this major exhibition of the artist's work. You can see images from the first part  here . You can also see more of his work  here .

A member of the Armos Art group which was established in 1949, Tsarouchis' took two different directions: towards the orientalist and sensualist with a strong influence from Matisse, and towards the ancient Greek ideal as expressed by the Renaissance and Baroque movements. His art is consequently a synthesis of the technique he learnt from the Impressionists whilst he was in Paris in the 1930s; elements of classical Hellenic sculpture and vase painting; and elements of the Byzantine art that represents the oriental side of the Greek aesthetic. Present in his work are also traces of folk art, as in weaving and shadow theatre. These constant references to Greece's past and present, from ancient sculpture to folk art, formed his vision reflecting the complexities of Greece's identity. They were blended together because of his desire to express the many ingredients that comprised 'Greekness'.

His depiction of sailors, often painted in the nude, which abound with homoerotic references was seen as controversial and as demeaning to the Greek male and were taken down by censors. Similarly, some of his paintings were seen as iconoclastic and condemned by the powerful Greek Orthodox Church.

Naval Training Facility, Poros, 1940s (watercolour on paper)

Portrait of A.G., 1942, (oil on canvas)

Illustration for Odysseas Elytis' poetry collection, The Sun, the First, 1942 (ink on paper)

Peasant and Sailor, 1948, (oil on wood)

'This is the second of the three doors I painted in the house in Cholargos. These doors would have been destroyed by the rain had Antonis Vousvounis not taken the bold initiative of buying one for the price of three new ones. The amount he paid might seems little today, but nobody was prepared to spend that much then'.

Evgenios Spatharis as an Angel as part of the larger piece, Apotheosis of Athanasios Diakos, 1948, (oil on canvas)

Seated Sailor and Reclining Nude, 10948, (oil on plywood)

'This painting was taken down by the police on the last day of the exhibition on the grounds that it was insulting to the Greek army. Had it not been taken down, the Military Police would have come and smashed everything in Zappeion where it was displayed. Note that the same exhibition featured a mythological painting by K. Xenakis, depicting a satyr with a full erection: this did not disturb the police at all'.

Mr Friar, 1946, (oil on plywood)

The Arrest of Three Communists, Each Resisting in his Own Way: the First Has Surrendered, The Second is Struggling, and the Third is under the Bed. First Days of the 1944 Uprising. 1944, (watercolour on paper)

Kalligas' House, 1957, (watercolour and pencil on paper)

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia (with contemporary costumes), 1955, (pigment with animal glue)

The Forgotten Guard, 1956, (oil on canvas)

Kafeneion Mavrokefalos , 1955, (oil on canvas)

Kafeneion Parthenon, 1955, (oil on canvas)

The Port of Piraeus, Seen from Gioni's House, 1955, (oil on canvas)

Woman from Atalanti with Bag and Flag, 1956, (pigments with animal glue on canvas)

Eros Measuring Architecture's Proportions, 1961, (watercolour on paper)

Sailor in the Sun, 1966, (oil on canvas)

The HiIl of the Acropolis,  (oil on canvas)

Landscape, 1960-62, (oil on canvas)

Landscape - Attica, 1966, (oil on canvas)

Landscape - Attica, 1966, (oil on canvas)

Study for Zephyrus (Tasos), 1965, (oil on canvas)

Despina Wearing a Lacy Blouse, 1968, (oil on canvas)

Portrait of French Student, 1972, (oil on canvas)

Dancing in Life and in the Theatre, 1963-68, (oil on canvas)

Tsamiko and Zeimbekiko (Greek dances), 1971, (oil on canvas)

Erophili, 1988, (oil on canvas)

'I have made numerous drawings of Erophili, the heroine in Chortatzis' tragedy, when she first sees the head, heart and hands of her lover, Panaretos. This work is deeply influenced by Byzantine and Eastern art. It differs from my quests in Paris when I was painting the Four Seasons. Every now and then, I revisit these two perceptions and this shapes the story of my painting. The accentuation of light and dark tones is a direct reference to the Renaissance and classic drawing'.

Dominique as 'Autumn' (from the Four Seasons), 1978, (oil on canvas)

Lila de Nobili, Study for a Portrait of Tsarouchis Wearing a Cap, 1972, (oil on paper)