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From the Vineyards towards Troodos



Adamantios Diamantis (1900-1994)
From the Vineyards towards Troodos
oil on canvas
AGLC 460 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Adamantios Dimanantis got to know and love Cypriot nature while still a child, spending long summers at his father’s birthplace, the village of Karavas, on the northern side of the Pentadaktylos Mountains, in the province of Kyrenia. At the age of 31 he was introduced to another village, Agios Theodoros Agrou, which became linked to a large part of his artistic output. This village on Mount Troodos, as well as the surrounding area of Pitsilia, inspired several of his landscapes, such as the one in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection.

Though Diamantis is considered an artist of the people of Cyprus, the landscape interested him from the outset of his career as an artist. An important role in the shaping of his style of painting was played by the issues which concerned Paul Cézanne, whose work Diamantis discovered during his student years. Cézanne’s influence on Diamantis’ landscapes was already apparent in his earlier works, even though he remained more reserved and conservative during that early period. Diamantis produced several landscapes up until 1940. However, despite the fact that in his post-1940 themes the human form is dominant, he did paint, especially after 1960, a few extraordinary landscapes, using a personal manner of painting in order to convey the natural pace of Cyprus. In 1964 he bought a house in Agios Theodoros, where he would spend the summer months. Thus, the village and the greater Pitsilia area became an inexhaustible source of inspiration for almost all of his subsequent landscapes.

The canvas in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection, From the Vineyards towards Troodos, belongs to the painter’s mature artistic period, during which he produced some of his most emblematic works. In this landscape, the painter’s gaze extends from the vineyards of Agios Theodoros towards the top of Mount Troodos. The artist’s most abstract landscape effort, using a bold tectonic arrangement, is clearly distinguishable in this oil painting. The composition evokes influences of Cézanne’s manner, particularly from one painting from the Mont Sainte-Victoire series (George W. Elkins Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art), except that Diamantis did not go as far as Cézanne in the abstract, geometric analysis of space. The work evolves through the rendering of the landscape’s structural features. The space is given its form with successive coloured, geometrical surfaces, which were produced by broad and free brushstrokes. Here, Diamantis dared to take a more decisive step towards abstraction: through simplification and schematisation, he managed to delve deeper into the essence of things, revealing the structure, the rhythm and the poetry of the landscape.

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About the artist

  He studied in London at the Saint Martin’s School of Art (1920-1921) and the Royal College of Art (1921-1923). Upon graduation, he split the First Prize for Drawing with his fellow student Henry Moore. He taught art at the Pancyprian Gymnasium (1926-1962) in Nicosia. He spearheaded the creation of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum and was its first director (1950-1994). He developed his own style through the study and unrestricted use of different artistic idioms. He especially studied classical values and delved into the work of El Greco, Cézanne and other Modernist artists. At the same time, he kept alive the artistic tradition of his homeland, by inseminating his works with the forms of ancient and Byzantine art. He drew his subjects from the landscape and the human element of Cyprus, which he did not try to describe but to interpret. His painting focuses on the formal, the universal and the monumental. Between 1967 and 1972 he painted the monumental work The World of Cyprus (1.75 x 17.5 m) and from 1963 to 1977 a series of eight works under the general title Agonies. He showed his work in solo exhibitions in Nicosia (1957, 1975, 1977, 1989), Athens (1962, 1976, 1989) and London (1964, 1979), as well as in group exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad. He received the Award of the Academy of Athens (1976) and the Excellence Award in Letters, Arts and Sciences of the Republic of Cyprus (1993).  

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