Double sided drawing: The Apotheosis of Bavaria recto; the head of Science signed and titled 'N. Gysis/ Kopf der Wissenschaft/ N. 4' charcoal, sanguine and chalk on paper 43.5 x 31 cm. (17 x 12 1/4 in.)
Provenance: Efklidis collection until 1946. Filippos Lappas collection and thence by descent to the present owner.
Exhibited: Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum, November 1962. Athens, National Gallery Alexander Soutzos Museum, Nicholaos Gysis- Studies for the work The Apotheosis of Bavaria, June July 1986.
The present drawing is a study of the head of Science for The Apotheosis of Bavaria (1895-1899), that Gysis was commissioned to create by the city of Nuremberg to decorate the ceiling of the assembly hall of the Museum of Decorative Objects. In honour of his adopted country, the artist chose as his theme the Apotheosis of Bavaria, celebrating the achievements of King Ludwig I. The composition is based on the triumphant entries of emperors immortalised in ancient Roman art. Bavaria rides in a chariot while surrounded by various personifications, including that of Science. Gysis was careful to provide each figure with individualised features.
The present drawing demonstrates the artists full talents in handling light and shadow and the fine modelling of facial features. On the reverse there are sketches of drapery folds, about which, as he writes in his notes, I must not forget the light, which falls on the folds from behind. The full figure of Science also appears in the drawing.
While Gysis mastered the principles of realism, later, he also became a pioneer in the art nouveau and symbolist movements. He gradually abandoned his academic genre themes and delved more into a world of ideas and inner vision, which conformed to the ideological and allegorical art tendencies in post-1876 Munich. His mature work displays a synthesis of vision and expression in which he explored the symbolic values of specific events.