1204 – art: Karyes by Papaloukas

Karyes papaloukas 2

Spyros Papaloukas (Greek, 1892-1957)
From Karyes, Mount Athos
signed in Greek (lower right)
oil on card
33 x 27.2 cm.
Sold for EUR 26,400 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium
Painted in 1923.PROVENANCE:
Private collection, Athens.
Karyes, Mount Athos was painted during the artist’s stay in the Holy Mountain in 1923-1924 accompanied by his close friend Stratis Doukas. Here on another painting.
After roaming the peninsula for a year and having amassed an impressive collection of material, he retreated to a cell in Karyes and prepared for a major showing which opened in Thessaloniki’s White Tower in 1924 and met with great success. This output, ranking among the greatest and most enduring achievements of Modern Greek art, is a key chapter not only in the development of the painter’s style but also in the evolution of early 20th century Greek art. As noted by art historian A. Kouria, “with these works Papaloukas provided a composed and daring answer to some of the period’s foremost issues, including those related to tradition and the nation’s self knowledge.”
A. Kouria, ‘Spyros Papaloukas’ Athos’ in Spyros Papaloukas, Apprenticing in Mt. Athos [in Greek], Athos 2003, p. 22.
One of the first to tackle Greekness in relation to the pursuits of modern art, Papaloukas engaged in a thorough study of the underlying principles of Byzantine art, which culminated in his work on Mt. Athos. As noted by Athens National Gallery Director M. Lambraki-Plaka, the artist’s decision to go to the Holy Mountain had a dual significance. He sought consolation, a cleansing from the recent Asia Minor tragedy, but also had the chance to formulate his own view on a balanced approach to tradition. He sought not to imitate or revive the Byzantine tradition but, rather, to capture the very essence of the Greek past as a continuous cultural entity from ancient times to Byzantium to the modern era.
 Lambraki-Plaka, ‘Papaloukas’ Painting, a Spiritual Adventure’ [in Greek] in Spyros Papaloukas, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music, Athens 2009, p. 14.
Stratis Doukas (1895 - 1983) and Spyros Papaloukas 1924
Doukas and Papaloukas on Athos in 1924.
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