Tag Archives: Greek War of Independence

Theodoros Vryzakis

Theodoros Vryzakis was born in 1814 in Thebes. During the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832), initiated by the Philike Etairia – a secret committee of prominent Greeks in Odessa – Vryzakis’ father was hanged by the Turks. As a result of losing his father, young Theodoros grew up in an orphanage established by Capodistrias in Aegina, an island not far from Athens and the location of the first official capital of the newly formed Greek state. Continue reading Theodoros Vryzakis

Photis Kontoglou

“Today, after so many years, I still declare that Kontoglou’s work, in all its diverse entirety, has been of immense importance for our generation: it is one of those few creations to have enabled the forgotten voice of the east once more to be heard as it truly deserves, and to remind us of what may be the proper place for a culture destined by its own tradition to stand sovereign between the two great currents that passed across it; to weigh them, to judge them, to retain whatever of them was best, to digest them, and finally – having added a precious part of itself – to return them in a unique and incomparable synthesis.”

Odysseus Elytis, in Photis Kontoglou (Athens: Akritas Editions, 1995)

Photis Kontoglou – Reflections of Byzantium in the 20th Century

Nikolaos Chrysochoou (portrait), Photis Kontoglou, 1924. Collection of Hestia, Nea Smyrni, Athens. Courtesy of the Kontoglou estate.
Nikolaos Chrysochoou (portrait), Photis Kontoglou, 1924. Collection of Hestia, Nea Smyrni, Athens. Courtesy of the Kontoglou estate.

The Greek painter Photis Kontoglou was born in 1895 on the eastern side of the Aegean in the town of Ayvali, Asia Minor, the site of ancient Cydoniae in the land of Ionia, home of Greek poets and philosophers. His great love for Byzantium, the spirituality of the Orthodox Church and beauty of its art, led him to feel that his life’s task was to continue this long and great tradition that included both the era of the glory of the mighty Byzantine empire and the subsequent despondent centuries of subjugation and servitude. Kontoglou felt himself duty-bound to both his ancient predecessors and his contemporaries to uphold and revive this tradition that, in part due to Western influences, had been so casually neglected in the first hundred years’ existence of the modern Greek state (c.1830–1930), and to offer an authentic artistic language by which modern-day Hellenism could express itself. Continue reading Photis Kontoglou