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by Archaeology Newsroom

Symbolism and Other Tendencies in Greek Painting: 1880-1930

In the Greek territory the defeat of 1897 contributed to the creation of an anti-heroic spirit which was channeled in an atmosphere of exaggeration, musing and vagueness, and favoured the development of Symbolism both in letters and arts. While the impact of French Impressionism is limited to individual attempts, these of the Post-Impressionistic currents, and especially of Symbolism, are in abundance; the latter in Greece, as a matter of fact, incorporated elements from the ancient Greek and Byzantine tradition. The beginning of the symbolistic influence is evident In the large allegoric and religious compositions of Gyzis after 1876 -Art and its Spirits, Symphony of Spring, The Banner of the University of Athens, Glory, The Triumph of Religion, Bridegroom-, as well as in a series of advertising posters of high artistic quality. The oeuvre of Gyzis is continued in the 20th century by Parthenis’ compositions -Annunciation, Lamentation, Orpheus and Eurydice, The Benefits of Public Transportation, etc. Related to the Symbolists and the Nabis cycle are Maleas’ compositions and landscapes, while Papaloukas is at the same time also working on the principles of Byzantine art. Other important artists, beyond the boundaries of Symbolism, are Nikolaos Lytras and Th. Triantaphyllidis. The work of G. Bouzianis, D. Vitsoris and G. Valtadoros develops in a direction different from idealism and tradition, while at the same time the academic teachers Volanakis, lakovidis and their successors continue their conservative artistic production.