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Woman with Goats by the Yellow Fence, 1965



Telemachos Kanthos (1910-1993)
Woman with Goats by the Yellow Fence, 1965
oil on canvas
AGLC 488 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

In this work, Telemachos Kanthos rendered what was to him the familiar landscape of his birthplace, Alona, combined with a scene from agrarian daily life; a daily life which Kanthos knew very well, since up to the age of 13 he had lived in the village with his mother, whom he often helped with her work in the fields and tending to the family’s livestock. He maintained enduring and especially close ties to his village, returning to it regularly up to the end of his life, especially in the summer months.

Therefore, the depiction of scenes from the life of farmers was not the result of a bourgeois painter’s romantic love of bucolic themes, but of a strong experiential connection between the artist and the villages and their world; a world which he applauded and loved and hence presented harmoniously linked with nature. In Kanthos’ paintings we do not find the farmer who is living a hardscrabble life, struggling and suffering for his daily bread. The artist gave us a farmer at peace with his world and focused on the agrarian ethos, portraying an era which he lived in and was now watching as it gradually changed.

In this particular canvas, the painter reconciled realism and poetry. A shepherdess, leaning against the trunk of a tree, watches as her few goats graze in a fenced field. The dry summer earth does not have enough grass to feed the animals, so the central goat, standing on its hind legs, is nibbling the leaves or the fruit of a tree. The goats, like the shepherdess, constitute an extension of the landscape. The painter’s palette, considerably limited, is a calm dialogue between shades of yellow, blue and their derivative, green. Using this colour trilogy, the painter constructed the work through sensitively juxtaposing warm with cool shades. Opting for bold, broad brushstrokes, he created large surfaces with which he conveyed overall space. The natural environment and the organic subjects are portrayed quite abstractedly and schematically. The painting is organised diagonally, and the composition is balanced and harmonious, emanating a peaceful atmosphere – the one the artist seems to have been reminiscing about and striving for.

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About the artist

Telemachos Kanthos was  born in 1910 . He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1929 to 1932 and from 1934 to 1938. His work is completely inspired by the landscape and people of Cyprus.  As a starting point for his artistic pursuits he studied 19th century landscape art.  He continued to study the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists, focusing particularly on Cézanne.  He was especially interested in landscape painting and studied Cyprus’ light, colours and volumes in great depth. When painting scenes from everyday life, he focused on the ‘essential’; his compositions are characterized by simplification, schematized forms and a removal of excessive and descriptive allusions.

More paintings of the artist
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