Theodoros Ralli (1852-1909) Walk through the park 55 x 23 cm. (21 5/8 x 9 in.)

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Lot 9
Theodoros Ralli
(1852-1909)
Walk through the park 55 x 23 cm. (21 5/8 x 9 in.)

Sold for £ 24,000 (US$ 33,897) inc. premium
Theodoros Ralli (1852-1909)
Walk through the park
signed ‘Ralli’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
55 x 23 cm. (21 5/8 x 9 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, Athens.

    The dean of Greek orientalist painters, a student of Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and an artist awarded with the Medal of the Legion of Honour by the French Government, Theodoros Ralli travelled extensively in Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and Palestine, painting mainly female figures in secular or religious settings. According to an 1876 newspaper article, Ralli had returned to Greece from Paris and visited the towns of Megara, Thebes and Arachova, along with other parts of mainland Greece “faithfully recording the countenance and traditional costumes of the Greeks.”1

    Ralli’s subjects are immersed in an atmosphere of romantic mysticism and suggestive eroticism, while his handling of form adheres to the tenets of classicism, emphasizing idealistic qualities. “With impeccable technique and wise handling of colour, Ralli uses the religious mysticism of the Orient as a genre’s backdrop to depict costumes and countenances from Greece and Egypt.”2 He follows the teachings of his great master in the naturalistic rendering of his idealized subjects, while showing an appreciation for the achievements of 17th century Dutch realists, mainly in the organization and handling of pictorial space. More than any other Greek painter, Ralli focused on ethnographic details, demonstrating great facility in the faithful depiction of his subjects and endowing them with a monumental quality.

    In this refined work, the three female figures dominate the pictorial space through their poignant design and luminous garments, animated by certain key details, such as the intricate foldings, golden ornamentation and red flower that draw the viewer’s attention to the centre of the composition. As noted by Prof. M. Papanikolaou, Ralli’s paintings are distinguished by their compositional balance, mastery of space, solidity and immobility of form and dominance of the vertical.”3 All these defining elements of Ralli’s work are evident in this beautiful work offered at auction.


    1. As quoted in M. Papanikolaou, Greek Genre Painting of the Nineteenth Century [in Greek], Thessaloniki, 1978, pp. 56-57
    2. S. Lydakis, The Greek Painters, vol. 3 (History of Modern Greek Painting) [in Greek], pp. 339, 342
    3.Papanikolaou, p. 114
Theodoros Ralli (1852-1909) Walk through the park 55 x 23 cm. (21 5/8 x 9 in.)
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