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Those Left Behind, Limassol



Michael Michaeledes (1923-0)
Those Left Behind, Limassol
Oil on plywood
AGLC 504 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Those Left Behind and Loading the Tugboat, dated 1950 and 1951 respectively, belong to the artist’s early period. In these pieces, the artist’s sensitive and penetrating gaze isolates scenes reveal key aspects of the Cypriot society of the early 1950s. Those Left Behind touches upon the issue of the mass migration of the male population from Cyprus due to the great economic crisis the island experienced after World War II. It depicts a few women farmers with their children, gazing at the ships that are taking their sons, husbands or fathers to a foreign land as they disappear into the horizon. Some of these emigrants will never return.

Loading a Tugboat captures a different scene; a snapshot of the hard life and the daily labor of the first dock workers. It was people such as these that were forced to move to the city in search of work, as a result of the economic crisis, thus creating the first proletariat class.  Michaeledes is perhaps the first artist who dealt with the social issues that arose as a result of this new Cypriot reality, moving the interest and focus of Cypriot art from the countryside to the city.

Although Michaeledes’ artistic expression is quite representational, he does not simply illustrate reality, but recreates using a more personal aesthetic. In this painting, light played an important role in creating a quiet, clean atmosphere, as it is diffused across the surface of the canvas.   He also created volumes and used subtle shading to add a poetic quality to the piece.  

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About the artist

Michael Michaeledes was born in Nicosia in 1923. He studied architecture and fine arts in Italy and the United Kingdom. His talent was recognized from early on when he was a student at the Pancyprian Gymansium, where he was taught by the artist Adamantios Diamantis. His early work reveals his teacher’s influence.

More paintings of the artist
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