Allegory signed 'N. Gysis' (lower left) oil on panel 29 x 44 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, Athens.
Literature: Greek Art, Nineteenth Century Painting, text by A. Kotidis, Introduction text M. Lambraki-Plaka, Ekdotike Athenon, Athens 1995, no 120, p. 150 (illustrated).
Coming to auction after being held for over 60 years by one of the most prominent collections of Modern Greek art, Allegory is discussed at length by art history Professor A. Kotidis: "This is a study in colour. On page 39 of the artist's sketchbook (K. Didaskalou, Der Münchner Nachlass von Nikolaus Gysis, I, II: Abbildungen, München 1993) the sketch with the putti seems to be a preliminary drawing of this study. The motif of the weeping child in the foreground and the winged figures hovering above, were used by Gysis much later in his Spring Symphony. However, the colour scale and handling of volume indicate that this study was used in the large scale composition Art and its Spirits, displaying pronounced similarity in terms of these two qualities. In any case, whether used in one of these paintings or in some other work, this study confirms Gysis's compositional skill even in the early stages of handling a subject. Developing from left to right, with the use of the rectangle, the semicircle and the reverse triangle, and culminating with the pyramid on the right, the groups of naked adolescents or the flying putti provide a complex foundation of diverse geometrical shapes to the organisational structure. Based on the study's sketch, dated 1872-1874 in the artist's sketchbook, and the study for Art and its Spirits at the National Gallery in Athens (1876), I believe that Allegory can be dated between 1874 (the year Gysis returned from his trip to Greece, where he drew the preliminary sketch) and 1876, when he had probably resolved the final layout of Art and its Spirits."1
1. A. Kotidis, Greek Art, 19th Century Painting [in Greek], Ekdotike Athenon publ., Athens 1995, p. 242.