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Tremetousia



George Pol. Georghiou (1901-1972)
Tremetousia
Oil on plywood
AGLC 473 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

George Pol. Georghiou expressed particular interest in the depiction of architectural structures, religious as well as secular. Living on an island where the architecture of different eras and styles cohabits and where the aesthetic preferences of the East encounter those of the West, the artist conveyed, with his own trained visual perception, the multicultural character of Cypriot architecture.

The composition Tremetousia artistically recreates part of the monastic complex of St Spyridon in Tremetousia. The same building is depicted in the work St Spyridon of Cyprus (State Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nicosia), which Georghiou painted around 1949. A variation of the oil painting Tremetousia is included in a series of eight works which the artist had printed as lithographs in the Netherlands by – as is written at the bottom of each one – the publishing house Les éditions Pol. Georghiou, île de Chypre. The work owned by the A. G. Leventis Gallery bears the date 30 July 1955 next to the name of the artist; that is to say, it was made two years before the work of the same title subsequently printed as a lithograph.

A particular feature of the work is the expressive distortion which personalises and enlivens the inanimate architectural structure on the painted surface. Through this distortion, the painter achieved mobility of form, lending spirit to matter. In this characteristic of Georghiou’s artistic style, we can see analogies with works by van Gogh.1 However, Georghiou did not in the least adopt van Gogh’s distinctive brushwork and colours, staying forever faithful to his calm brushstroke and soft hues. In terms of colour, Georghiou remained orientated towards the aesthetic of traditional Cypriot buildings and his three basic colours: earthy tones, whites and blues. These colours are toned down by the imperceptible misty shroud that coats the painting. Georghiou appears to have achieved this particular texture for his medium by adding a coat of diluted sand dust.2 The artist used a peculiar perspective, similar to a bird’s-eye view, allowing us to see the building behind the courtyard gate.

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About the artist

George Pol Georgiou was born in 1901. He studied law in London, but soon abandoned it and devoted himself to drawing. Although he was self-taught, he studied art in depth, as he spent long periods of time abroad and visited museums, galleries and exhibitions frequently.  His art is characterized by a genuine inspiration and a very personal expression. He was influenced by modernist art movements, as well as by the work of older artists such as El Greco, Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. Georghiou also developed a close relationship with the artistic tradition of his own country: archaic sculpture, byzantine, gothic and folk art.

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