Diamantis Diamantopoulos (Greek, 1914-1995) Phrixos and Elli 33 x 45 cm.
Lot 21AR
Diamantis Diamantopoulos
(Greek, 1914-1995)
Phrixos and Elli 33 x 45 cm.
£18,000 - 26,000
US$ 28,000 - 41,000

Lot Details
Diamantis Diamantopoulos (Greek, 1914-1995)
Phrixos and Elli
signed in Greek (lower left)
tempera on paper
33 x 45 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted in 1943.

    PROVENANCE:
    Acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner.

    EXHIBITED:
    Athens, National Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Diamantis Diamantopoulos, 1978, no 90 (illustrated).

    LITERATURE:
    Entefktirio magazine, no. 32, Autumn 1995, p. 92 (illustrated).


    Included in the artist's seminal 1978 retrospective at the Athens National Gallery, which together with his Ora Gallery showing three years earlier marked Diamantopoulos's long awaited reappearance in the Greek art scene after a quarter of a century, this captivating work draws from one of the most beloved Greek myths to create an advanced, well-thought out and personal world of shared values and collective archetypal symbols, a "world of pure creation, unique and unparalleled in its beauty, richness, compositional power and spiritual ethos."1

    According to myth, Athamas, the King of Thessaly grew indifferent of his wife Queen Nephele and replaced her with another woman. The Queen, fearing danger to her children, Phrixos and Helle, from the influence of their stepmother, took measures to send them out of her reach. Hermes assisted her and gave her a ram with a fleece of pure gold to take them to a place of safety. The ram vaulted into the air with the children on its back, but while crossing the strait that divides Europe and Asia, Helle slipped and fell into the sea, which was named Hellespont after her. The ram continued its flight till it reached the kingdom of Kolchis on the Black Sea, where Phrixos came safely to land. The boy sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave the precious Golden Fleece to Aetes, the hospitable king of Kolchis, who placed it in a sacred grove under the watchful eye of a sleepless dragon – until it was eventually retrieved by Jason and his Argonauts.

    As noted by B. Spiliadi who curated the artist's participation in the 1982 Venice Biennale, "much more than merely reflecting the artist's subjective sentiments, Diamantopoulos's figures allude to collective experiences, becoming generally recognizable and easily decipherable symbols. Although stemming from the very heart of his homeland, his art transcends the culturally specific to formulate an artistic statement that is valid beyond the confines of time and space."2

    1. A. Konstantinidis, Diamantis Diamantopoulos [in Greek], Syllektis magazine, no.35, February 1978, p. 72.
    2. B. Spiliadi, Diamantis Diamantopoulos, Painter in Hellas - Biennale Venezia 1982, exhibition catalogue, Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens 1982.
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