Theodoros Ralli (Greek 1852-1909) Devotion 42 x 32.5 cm. (16 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.)

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Lot 44
Theodoros Ralli
(Greek 1852-1909)
Devotion 42 x 32.5 cm. (16 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.)

Sold for £ 81,260 (US$ 101,007) inc. premium
Theodoros Ralli (Greek 1852-1909)
Devotion
signed and dated ‘Ralli 86’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
42 x 32.5 cm. (16 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, Athens.

    Dressed in traditional costume, a slender young maiden silently stands in prayer with her head raised in supplication to the icon of the Virgin and Child that rests on a small ledge attached to the stone wall of the house. On her head the young woman wears a red cap adorned with silver coins that hang over her forehead –not an unusual sight in Greek towns of the 19th century. At one side of the hearth, stands a broken ancient black-figure vase that alludes to Greece’s ancient past. The white lily sprouting from the vase is a traditional symbol of purity and chastity, a symbolic reference to the emergence of Greece as a modern nation.

    Painted in 1886, the poetic quality inherent in this eloquent and refined picture derives from the artist’s masterly control of colour and composition. Rallis has succinctly captured not only the psychological state of the maiden, ardently praying for some wish known only to herself, but also the atmosphere of her environment, era and customs. Genre scenes of the orient and the Greek Orthodox world were among the artist’s chosen subjects but were also in high demand by the French public. Conveying an exoticism based on reality, Rallis focused on the everyday lives of people he encountered during his travels. With its sensitive blend of religiosity, a contemplative mood, and a narrative that was of ethnographical interest, this picture must have had a strong appeal to the buying public.

    Born in Constantinople of Greek parents, Rallis trained in the atelier of the leading pompier painter, Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris (1872-1880). Rallis made the French capital his home but travelled frequently to Greece and the Middle East throughout his life. He was warmly accepted by the French critics and as early as 1873 exhibited in the Salon des Refusés. Only two years later he was accepted as a regular exhibitor in the annual Salon de Paris. He maintained strong ties to Greece and participated frequently in exhibitions in Athens. A cosmopolitan, he had close ties with intellectuals and artists in Paris.
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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