EXHIBITED: Athens, Zappeion Megaron, Panhellenic Art Exhibition 1948, no 958. Metsovo,The Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art September 7 - November 19 1996. Athens, National Gallery and A.Soutzos Museum, Pericles Pantazis 1849-1884, November 25 1996 - January 31 1997, no.71.
LITERATURE: S.Gayens de Heusch, O. Mentzafou-Polyzou, S. Samaras, Pericles Pantazis, Evangelos Averof-Tositsa Foundation, Athens 1994, p. 206, no 125 (illustrated).
A monumental Pantazis, a tours-de-force of landscape painting and one of the largest pictures by the artist ever to appear in the art market, this exquisite work exemplifies the painter's vision of nature, allowing him to delve into its psyche and discover its deeper meaning without spoiling its virginal beauty.1 As noted by art historian G. Drakopoulou, who wrote her doctoral dissertation on Pantazis, "the artist approached the natural environment having in mind the teachings of Corot but he simplified his palette to better capture the sense of fluidity of air that suffused his landscapes." Reviewing the artist's work in 1876, art critic Marc Very noted that "Pantazis is a faithful and sincere lover of nature, following it carefully step by step in all its manifestations, in all its transformations. And his work is never trite or repetitive."2
Here, inspired by the breakthroughs of the Barbizon School, Pantazis departs from the sombre palette dictated by the strict tenets of institutionalised realism and ventures into a skilful handling of light contrasts and luminous atmospheric effects, capturing the vibrancy and power of the expansive landscape. (Compare Seine landscape, E. Koutlidis collection, Athens.) With its sensitive colouring, ease of design, dynamic palette-knife brushwork, deep sense for space and large-scale format, which clearly indicates the importance Pantazis attached to Landscape, this striking picture speaks of the promise and bright prospects of a restless and amazing artist, whose untimely death at the age of 35 deprived the younger generations of Greek artists of a chance to get acquainted at an early stage with the innovative trends emerging in Europe. The Belgians, who claim him as one of their own, rightfully consider him one of the founding fathers of the 19th century Flemish school, along such figures as Guillaume Vogels and James Ensor.3
1. See G. Drakopoulou, Pericles Pantazis in the Context of 19th Century Belgian Painting (doctorate dissertation) [in Greek], Athens 1982, pp. 94-95. 2. M. Very, L' Artiste, Brussels, 12.3.1876. 3. See F. Maret, Les Peintres Luministes, Cercle d'Art publ., Brussels 1994, p. 9.