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The Church of St Paraskevi, Geroskipou, after 1955



George Pol. Georghiou (1901-1972)
The Church of St Paraskevi, Geroskipou, after 1955
Oil on plywood
AGLC 472 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

One of the many churches that inspired George Pol. Georghiou is that of St Paraskevi at Geroskipou, built in the 8th or 9th century. St Paraskevi, together with the church of Sts Barnabas and Hilarion at Peristerona, which is also depicted in works by the artist, are two unique, five-domed basilicas in Cyprus. The subject of the church recurs obsessively in the artist’s subject matter, and it is obvious that his interest was not limited to only visual values through the artistic management of forms, volumes and colours. For Georghiou, the church sums up a system of spiritual values and functions as a symbol of local cultural and religious tradition.

In the A. G. Leventis Gallery’s work, The Church of St Paraskevi, Geroskipou,1 the drawing is confident, comprehensive and vivid. It is the drawing of a liberated hand. The line flows rhythmically and follows, as does the construction of the volumes and surfaces, an inner, harmonious, poetic rhythm. The harmony is enhanced by the quiet sounds emitted by the colours and the calm dialogue between the cool blues and the warm earthy and red tones. The white surfaces in the foreground lend the composition more light and clarity. The painter artfully toned down the colours, shrouding them in an imperceptible veil in order to convey the thin mist generated by the relentless light of the Cypriot sun. At the same time, the light takes on a spiritual, metaphysical depth. As in most of his works, Georghiou transcended the realistic depiction of visual reality and moved from signifier to signified, from the material to the spiritual dimension of his subject.

Written on the outer wall of the church are the letters Ε.Ο.Κ.Α., the Greek acronym of the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters. The presence of this slogan dates the work after 1955, the year when the anti-colonial struggle for liberation began.

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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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