I found recently a very rich web resource with works of Greek painters, of which I am really very impressed. Among the names that attracted my attention is Giorgios Gounaropoulos (Γιώργος Γουναρόπουλος, 1890 – 1977).
I found some information about him in English, but his paintings speak for themselves and I decided to share with you my thoughts.
An interesting fact in his biography is that he was born in Sozopol and is of Greek descent. His family emigrated to Greece in the beginning of the 20th century.
Giorgios began to study decorative arts at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and showed his talents very young. He won first place in student competitions and took various awards during his training there. He received a scholarship to continue his education in Paris, which he used only after the end of the First World War in which he took part.
In Paris Giorgios studied in Académie Julian and in Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He was attracted by the impressionism, feels great sympathy to Henri Matisse and Paul Sezane. The painter took part in common art exhibitions and made his own exhibition in Paris during 1926. His works were very well accepted by the public. He has been successfully selling his paintings since the first exhibitions.
Giorgios returned to Greece and settled in Athens in 1931.
His art pursuits go through post-impressionism and expressionism while evolving into a very interesting and rarely personal style. Art critics refer his work to surrealism, adding that it is a very lyrical surrealism in which many knowledge of ancient Greek history and mythology and a typical Balkan worldview are woven.
His paintings are pure magic. A mixture of vision and dream …
The colours are pastel and tender. He uses unusual and impressive mild combinations of colours. Various colours form the background. The contours are smooth and light.
The painted objects are from the real life and at the same time they are part of the artist’s internal world in which fish, women, sea, rocks, trees and flowers coexist in an incredible way.
Women are incredible. With soft, rounded, feminine bodies. With long wavy hair. Mysteriously smiling. Ready to hug. Or hugging? Their profile is antique, Hellenic or Slavic. The eyes are deep as wells where one can sink. Real mermaids.
I chose to show you this picture – a naked woman in a sleepy landscape.
It is hard to describe in words the charm hidden in his paintings. You can only feel it.
I find something in common between his paintings and the works of Dimitar Kazakov – Neron, with the clarification that Dimitar Kazakov’s works are multilayered, somewhat more complex, with more tension and compressed emotion inside.
I also find something in common with George Papazov’s works. Basically the emotional power and the way the painter freely communicates with the universe.
They say that with his specific style Georgios Gunaropoulos protests against the established norms and rules in the then art world. But can we treat beauty and tenderness as a form of protest?