Last Saturday, after a two-hour exam at the university, I decided on my way home to stop at the Theocharakis Foundation which presented an exhibition of the works of The Great Painter: Nikolaos Gyzis, one of the most essential representatives of the Munich School. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of his works which among others were paintings, bronze sculptures, charcoal drawings or even drawings on celluloid.
Nikolaos Gyzis, was born in the island of Tinos. When he moved with his family to Athens, he begun attending the Athens School of Fine Arts, which formed his artistic career. In 1863, when Gyzis graduated from the School of Fine Arts, he painted for the first time portraits of his family. Most of his portraits, depict his eldest daughter Penelope and some others his second daughter Margarita. The portraits of his daughters are amongst the most qualitative of his works.
In 1865, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In the early 1870’s, he returned to Greece for several years and he painted a series of works with completely Greek themes as the Carnival in Athens. The Children Engagement 1877 and The Secret School 1885-1886 are two of his most recognized pieces of his painting career.
The beginning of his involvement with the still lifes was identified by Montandon in the early 1880-1890. In the same decade are recorded chronologically most of the painter’s still lifes. Before the 1880’s, the still lifes were affiliated with Gyzis’s genre formations. Gyzis mainly painted food, flowers and utensils. In his work Brioche, pomegranate and canister, the themes emerge from the deep dark, the warm colors of the dessert and the pomegranate and the cold colors of the container are juxtaposed and then reconciled with the reflections on the surface of the table and on the metal container.
In the 1890’s Nikolaos Gyzis dealt with more religious themes such as the Historia 1892 and the Archangel (from the painting of the Foundation of Faith) 1894-1895.
Towards the end of his life in Munich, Gyzis dealt with the allegorical themes. One of his latest and best known work was The New Century 1899-1900.
The exhibition, as I mentioned before, also included Bronze Sculptures 1898, Drawings charcoal on paper 1884 and Drawings on celluloid 1896-1898.
Nikolaos Gyzis died on 4 January 1901.
“I cannot paint Greece as beautifully as I feel it”, Nikolaos Gyzis (1842-1901).