Theofilos Hadjimichael (Greek, 1871-1934) Erotokritos and Aretoussa  81 x 59 cm.

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 29
Theofilos Hadjimichael
(Greek, 1871-1934)
Erotokritos and Aretoussa 81 x 59 cm.

Sold for £ 31,312 (US$ 39,372) inc. premium
Theofilos Hadjimichael (Greek, 1871-1934)
Erotokritos and Aretoussa
inscribed in Greek (lower left)
natural pigments on canvas laid on board
81 x 59 cm.

Footnotes

  • 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, 2-4 April 2019. This work will be located in Athens during the auction.

    Provenance
    Private collection, Athens.

    In a luxuriant garden inhabited by a majestic peacock and embellished with a frame of boldly coloured roses, Erotokritos has climbed a rope ladder to reach the balcony of his beloved Aretoussa. The young princess embraces him and leans in to kiss him, stretching her wonderful long neck set against the cascading locks of her hair. The composition is further animated by a row of buildings in the background used as a stage set for the meeting of the two young lovers.

    Written by Vintsentzos Kornaros around 1640, at a time when Crete laid across the lifelines of commerce and culture between Venice and Constantinople, Erotokritos is considered the masterpiece of Cretan poetry and a milestone in the history of Greek literature. Setting great store by true love, courage and patriotism, the poem enjoyed immense popularity among Greeks, who learned about it from refugees after the fall of Crete in 1669, and its hero became a symbol of suffering Hellenism, exalted side by side with Digenis Akritas and Alexander the Great.1 "The poem was very popular because Aretousa was as charming as Areti, a girl who featured in many demotic songs, while Erotokritos displayed the same qualities as the palikares of Cretan epic poetry. The two heroes are not foreign imports from the Renaissance. On the contrary, they are Greeks, inherently carrying within them Greek tradition and history."2

    Though Erotokritos is represented in a typical Renaissance outfit and the scene does not correspond exactly to the poem, Theofilos's painting is imbued by a profoundly Greek atmosphere. As noted by K. Nitsos, "Theofilos's self-assured and courageous Aretoussa, the gaze, the luxurious moustache and the facial traits of his Erotokritos, which make him look no different than the other braves he painted, endow the scene with an air of folk gallantry and honesty, poignantly capturing -even reviving- the Greek spirit and the Greek ethos of the Cretan Renaissance. Note the fascinating pictorial, even theatrical interplay of stripped and monochromatic fabrics and the different shades of blue generated by the alternating pleats and folds. Amidst ochres and reds, this radiant blue echoes the magnificent Byzantine harmonies that blend with both western influences and traditional sources without seeming to clash or be out of place."3 Erotokritos has struck deep roots in the Greek soul and, not surprisingly, Theofilos's legendary wooden chest contained a popular edition of this celebrated narrative poem.4

    1 See V. Kornaros, Erotocritos, Papazissis editions, Athens 1984, pp. 19-22.
    2 I. Alexopoulou-Kaliyanni, Modern Greek Painting-Sculpture-Literature, doctoral dissertation, Athens 1992, vol. 1, p. 111.
    3 K. Nitsos, "A Short Note on Theofilos" [in Greek], Theatro magazine, no.4, July-August 1962, p. 7.
    4 G. Seferis, Dokimes (Treatises) [in Greek], Fexis editions, Athens 1962, p. 58.
Contacts
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £20,000 of the hammer price;
26% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £20,000 up to and including £700,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £700,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalogue.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

App