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View of Kyrenia Port



Ioannis Kissonerghis (1889-1963)
View of Kyrenia Port
watercolour on paper
AGLC AGLG 496 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

From the 18th century, painter-travellers showed particular interest in the depiction of Cypriot landscapes and landmarks, as well as in the painterly rendition of the island’s ancient and medieval monuments, using principally the artistic medium of watercolour. This tendency was reinforced with the arrival of the British on the island in 1878. Watercolours proved ideal for painting from nature. Landscape artists could easily carry their materials. Furthermore, the diluted colours dried immediately and so were amenable to subsequent layers. Driven by the excitement of discovering new, different, even – to their eyes – ‘exotic’ places, they portrayed their subject matter with a romantic slant, accentuating its picturesque quality or, in some cases, focusing their interest on precise description, primarily of archaeological sites.

The light plays a leading role in the watercolour View of Kyrenia Port. Using light, the painter drew the lines of the horizon and the distant mountains, while at the same time showing to advantage the transparency of the water and the Cypriot atmosphere as a whole, which is marked by a temperate climate.

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About the artist

Ioannis Kissonerghis was born in Nicosia in 1889. He studied medicine for three years at the University of Athens, but interrupted his studies to take part in the Balkan Wars. After they ended in 1913 he enrolled in the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he remained for 1 ½ years.  However due to serious Illness, he had to return to Cyprus, where he taught at the Pancyprian Gymansium and The English School.  His art was very much influenced by his studies at the Athens School of Fine Art, where he was taught by professors that had been educated in Munich and had brought with them the artistic climate that prevailed there at the time.  His relationship with them is evident in Kissonerghis’ realistic approach, accomplished draftsmanship and detailed and skillful composition. Kissonerghis was particularly involved in watercolour. The greater freedom of line and the quicker speed that watercolour painting demands affected his style, helping to distance him from the various constraints of the academic tradition.

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