407 – Photios Kontoglou (1895 -1961)

Upon Kontoglous arrival at Mount Athos (1923), a fashionable destination for the most prominent intellectuals, Kontoglou would exclaim: ‘I must say I had not expected to find such perfect art in the monastery churches. From what I had read about Byzantine art I had formed the idea that it was less worthy of attention than the art of the Italian Renaissance… [but] on Mount Athos there are paintings of the most superb artistry, such as the Archangel Gabriel and St. Merkourios by Katelanos. So far as I am in a position to judge, it is very seldom that one comes across paintings executed with such shrewd artistic judgment and charged with such powerful rhythm. I approached these paintings with a feeling which arises from a cast of mind similar to that of the Byzantines and from a strict Christian upbringing’ (The Art of Athos, c.1923, quoted in Nikos Zias, ‘The Greek Tradition and Fotis Kondoglou,’ Zygos, vol. III, Athens, 1984, p. 58). Copying frescos and icons would lead Kontoglou along the visual path to a neo-Byzantine purity and austerity, and the Asia Minor tragedy of 1922 in which Greeks were expelled from Anatolia would give Kontoglou intellectual and spiritual momentum.
Text from Sothebys.
Gregoriou 1923
St. Demetrius.

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5 Responses to 407 – Photios Kontoglou (1895 -1961)

  1. Vasilis says:

    Speaking about painters: for me is Theofánis The Cretan (16th century) the greatest. His Theotókos in the church of I.M. Stavronikíta is wonderful. He also painted a lot of fresco’s, on Agion Oros and Metéora as well. Wallpaintings about the Paschastory (27th of April 2008) see http://www.eikastikon.gr/xristianika/kris/index_en.html.

  2. Vasilis says:

    On this site you will also find a drawing made by Kóntoglou of I.M. Ivíron (1923): http://www.eikastikon.gr/xristianika/kontoglou/index2_en.html

  3. patrick love says:

    Great site here. Thank you for putting this information out there.

  4. Wim says:

    see a panorama picture of Athos on http://www.patricklovephotography.com/ : Travel Places nr 42.

  5. There are some more fascinating stories and writings from Photios Kontoglou, regarding Iconography, and Byzantine Music (Psalmi). I have a web site that you will find interesting
    to read. My wish would have been that I could have met Mr. Photios Kontoglou. I spent my life following in his footsteps. Hopefully with the help of God, someday… I will reach
    or come close to what this man longed for.
    The web-site is:

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