Painting monk signed 'N. Gysis' (lower right) oil on canvas 27 x 22 cm.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Athens.
LITERATURE: Nelly Missirli, Gysis, Adam Editions, Athens 1996, p. 166, no 112 (illustrated).
Evoking century-old memories and pious traditions, this atmospheric Gysis conveys a sense of romantic mystique and veiled nostalgia. Working within a subdued scale, the artist relies on soft contours and dark shadows to express a mood of tranquillity and a noble sentiment of holy respect, while an intense shaft of light, sharply invading the dark interior from the right, hits the easeled canvas, transforming it into a luminous area glowing with shimmering whiteness and making it the picture's undisputed focal point. As noted by N. Misirli in her monograph on the artist, "in Painting monk, the intense chiaroscuro transforms the easeled canvas from a surface lit by natural light to a self-illuminated object".1 Visible brushwork and seeming lack of finish combined with sfumato effects -recalling Leonardo da Vinci who in his notes on painting wrote that light and shade should blend without lines or borders, all call attention to the painting process - both the monk's and Gysis's.
1. N. Misirli, Gysis [in Greek], Adam editions, Athens 1996, p. 136.