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The Meeting of Digenis and Melpomene



Nicos Engonopoulos (1907-1985)
The Meeting of Digenis and Melpomene
watercolour on paper
AGLC 207 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

In the oil painting in the A. G. Leventis Gallery, dating from 1967, the artist was inspired by Greek mythology, a perennial source of imagery for him. It depicts Orpheus, who enchants even wild animals with his music. This mythical figure, alone or with Eurydice, preoccupied Engonopoulos in numerous variations from as early as the 1930s.

Part of a series of depictions of Greek buildings, an earlier tempera painting entitled Houses was produced in 1949.

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About the artist

He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens (1932-1938). Close to Fotis Kontoglou and Alexandros Xyngopoulos, he came into contactwith the traditions of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art. He worked, alongside Yannis Tsarouchis, on the monumental fresco made inKontoglou’s house. He travelled to Europe and made independent art studies in Munich and various cities in Italy. From 1945 he worked asassistant to the architect Dimitris Pikionis at the National Technical University in Athens; in 1956, he was elected associate professor andin 1967 professor at the School of Architecture. His solo exhibition in 1939 caused a critical uproar. He participated in the Venice Biennale(1954) and the Sao Paulo Bienal (1955), as well as in all the exhibitions held by the ‘Armos’ group of artists, of which he was a founding member(1964). He received the first Greek state prize for poetry (1958, 1979) and the Gold Cross of King George I for his painting (1966). He alsoworked as a stage designer and book illustrator, and published essays on art.   An intellectually diverse figure of post-war Greece, he is regarded as the pre-eminent exponent of Surrealism. His painting combines, in anunconventional and absurd manner, elements and images from across the spectrum of Greek history and tradition.

More paintings of the artist
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