Ευθυμία Μαυρομιχάλη, Επίκουρη καθηγήτρια Ιστορίας της Τέχνης, τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Δημήτρης Παυλόπουλος, Αναπληρωτής καθηγητής Ιστορίας της Τέχνης, τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Δήμητρα Λαμπροπούλου, Λέκτορας Νεότερης Ελληνικής Ιστορίας, τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Όψεις του αστικού τοπίου στη Νεοελληνική ζωγραφική. Σπύρος Βασιλείου, Γιάννης Τσαρούχης, Νίκος Χατζηκυριάκος-Γκίκας
The purpose of this essay is to explore the depictions of the urban landscape in the artwork of the artists: Spyros Vassiliou (1902-1985), Yannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989) and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas (1906-1994).
In order to approach the subject, we worked with material from the scientific fields of History, History of Art and the Theory of Architecture. Specifically, we examined the concepts of Cultural Landscape, Helenity, Modernism, Tradition and Nostalgia. We examined Athens during the Interwar period, when the city shapes a new form, to configure the historical, social and cultural frame of the time. We studied the three artists and their artwork, synthetically, on the basis of the above data.
The three chosen painters lived in the same period of time and stood for the demand of returning to the roots. Their common axis is the need for a redefinition of the Greek tradition and the desire to renew the relationship with the past, while at the same time always pursuing the aspirations of modernism and the movements of the avant-garde of their era so that Greek art could acquire new features and its own aesthetics, in order to be worthy to stand in the international artistic sphere. However, their artwork is visually different, as well as their references, the ways of perception and, of course, their experiences and stories. The relationship developed by artists of the 1930s and later with the landscape, which will determine the evolution of Greek art up to the post-war years in Greece, gradually, forms part of the wider quests of the era.
Each creator’s personal narration unfolds through the ways in which he approaches his landscape in his work. The relationship between the artists and the urban landscapes is a space-time process. The creators make a reading of city’s time. The memories and experiences of their personal lives intersect with the past of the city. Neoclassical buildings and halls, hammocks with courtyards, monuments and neighborhoods, are still there as witnesses of a time that has elapsed. As time passes over them and threatens them with extinction, memory seems to be the only driving force that can enlivens them and gives value to their existence.
Spyros Vassiliou (1902-1985), Yannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989) and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika are three painters who have experienced the great cultural changes of Interwar period. This essay, while going across the painter’s artwork, attempted to answer the question of whether their work strengthen or overturn the historical “objective” knowledge of the city. The examined artwork does not represent the reality of urban landscape of that time.
Although the landscape is recognizable and, of course, while we are looking at it we are transferred in another era, however it’s time is not identified with the era. The city is idealized, becoming a symbol of a past utopia. Of course, each painter creates a mythology based on his own references.
Modern Greek Painting, urban landscape, cultural landscape, Spyros Vassiliou, Yannis Tsarouchis, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas