The hero Markos Botsaris inscribed with title on the upper part, dated '1900' (lower right) natural pigments on cardboard 63 x 43 cm.
PROVENANCE: K. Makris collection. D. Livanos-Chrysochoidis collection.
LITERATURE: Kitsos Makris, Folklore Art of Pilion, Melissa Editions, Athens, 1976 (illustrated). Greek Painters, vol. 1, From the 19th Century to the 20th, Melissa editions, Athens 1974, p. 443 (illustrated). Kathimerini daily, Epta Imeres, 20.3.1994, p. 15 (illustrated). Theofilos, Ta Nea editions, Athens 2006, p. 15 (illustrated).
A legendary captain and a celebrated hero of the Greek War of Independence, the Souliote Markos Botsaris (1788-1823) distinguished himself not only by his courage, resolve and skill as a partisan leader in western Greece but also for the single-handed battles of wit he fought during meetings and negotiations with the Turks. He was also conspicuous in the first siege of Missolonghi, the city he was buried in after being killed in Karpenisi on August 21, 1823. As noted by the prominent historian C. Paparrigopoulos, "Markos Botsaris was one of the most heroic and noble Greek fighters. None was his equal when it came to dedication and bravery. His virtuousness was reflected by his facial features, while his goodness was evident in his manners and words"1, traits that are lovingly captured in Theofilos's well-known portrait.
Enchanted by the epic 1821 uprising, Theofilos left his indelible mark as one of the forerunners of Modern Greek culture, much the same as General Makriyannis, the War of Independence hero who became one of the greats of Modern Greek prose. The power, immediacy and disarming sincerity of Theofilos's art smashed the confines of academicism and proved to be a key for defining and giving expression to the true face of Greece.
1. See C. Paparrigopoulos, History of the Greek Nation [in Greek], vol. XIΙ, Athens 1925, p. 130.
Please note that due to Greek regulation, this lot cannot be exported from Greece and will be available for viewing and inspection in Athens either by appointment or during the Athens Preview April 8-11 2013. This painting will be located in Athens during the auction.