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Athenian churches as art museums

01 February 2014 / 17:02:01  GRReporter
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They are right in front of our eyes, but we have never seen their intrinsic value as works of art. Moreover, they have not been painted in order for our eyes to enjoy them, but in order to listen to our prayers and reduce our pain. Many believers on the island of Siros kiss the icon in the Church of the Assumption, without knowing that it was painted by El Greco. However, there are churches in Athens which also have certainly been visited many times and which have masterpieces painted by major Greek artists, such as Nicolaou, Partenis, Kondoglou, Vassiliou, Tsarouhis and Pelekasis. All of them were inspired by works of religious art and created masterpieces which, however, have unfortunately remained unknown to the general public.

On the occasion of the wonderful exhibition organized last summer by the Goulandris Foundation on the island of Andros, dedicated to works of religious art, let's take a brief journey in Athens and find some of them. Artist Andreas Georgiadis will help us. He is the curator of the exhibition’s catalogue, which will guide our tour.

The first stop is St. Demetrius Church on Skoufa Street with murals by Spiros Vassiliou. When you enter the church, if you turn back, you will see the scene of the Crucifixion, in which the artist depicted the suffering of Christ in combination with the life of the saint, and Athens itself. The artist also did not hesitate to depict the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheum and the Temple of Nike. You have probably seen a lot of beautiful icons, without knowing that they were painted by Vassiliou.

The second stop is the church Zoodohos Pigi (Life-giving spring), where few have recognized Anastasios Loukidis. Originally from Smirna, he studied in Athens and Paris in the early 20th century. He has works both in this church, and the St. Constantine Church near Omonia Square. His iconographic images are diverse and the colours are bright (especially the dark clouds).

Loukidis’s creative courage, patterns and shades create an impressive atmosphere. At the same church there are two paintings upstairs by Nicos Nicolaou, but access is prohibited because they are being restored.

At the RussianChurch you can see the mural on the dome by Loudovikos Tirsios. Unfortunately, the church is closed. The St. George Church in Kipseli, which is also closed, has works by Dimitris Pelekasis.

The small church of Pantanasas in Monastiraki is open. There, Fotis Kondoglou, together with his student Yiannis Tsarouhis, created 22 icons for the architrave of the church. These are remarkable small icons which are signed by the two famous Greek artists.

Such a walk turns churches into small museums...


Tags: Athenian churches icons frescoes Loukidis Vassiliou Kondoglou Tsarouhis Partenis
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