The Parthenon, Humanity's Shining Temple of Athens

Category: EXHIBITIONS

 

NON Selling Exhibition

 

History

The Parthenon we know today was built on the foundations of an older Temple that was destroyed in 480 BC by the Persians' invasion of Greece and destruction of Athens. The Parthenon, like its predecessor, was erected in honour of the Goddess Athena, protector of Athens, and was a symbol of the political, cultural and general superiority of Athens over the rest of the Greeks of that period.  Begun in 447 BC and completed by 432 BC, the Parthenon was the brain child of Pericles, general and politician in Athens at the time, and the democratically governed city of Athens. It was designed by two incomparable architects, Iktinos and Kallikrates, to such perfection that it has been impossible for anyone at any time, including today’s technological age, to replicate the monument exactly.  Pheidias, the most famous sculptor of the day, surpassed all expectations with his creative mind and artistic skill to produce the celebrated friezes and sculptures which decorated the temple and represented, among many other ideals, the themes of

Justice over Injustice, Peace over War, Freedom over Slavery

Unfortunately most of those sculptures were stolen from the Parthenon in 1806 by Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum where they are still housed today. The impressive sculpture of Athena Parthenos, due to its gold and ivory value, was dismembered stage by stage and ultimately disappeared.

The Golden Ratio 1.618

Modern man considers the Parthenon to be the epitome of Western Civilisation, even though it was conceived and built two and a half thousand years ago. It was harmony and proportion, the perfect symmetrical building with the Golden Ratio of 1.6180, the same ratio of the human body, where symmetry of part to part and the part to whole are perfect!  It is apt to refer here to Protagoras who, some years earlier, said the controversial, “Man is the measure of all things”.

Classical Greece of the 5th Century BC has been studied by humanity ever since its short life was cut even shorter by war and natural disaster soon after it came to shine brightly between 450-400 BC. The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens has both inspired and intrigued mankind over the ages. Its perfect proportions and Golden Ratio, harmonious, intricate lines and angles, astonishing details and “symmetria” make it the one and only building in our modern world whose design and construction we look up to and yet cannot fully comprehend. 


The Parthenon's Importance Today

The world today seems to be in a kind of chaos and confusion. Compare that to the symmetry and clarity of design and concept of the Parthenon and it is easy to understand why the most ingenious ancient temple on the planet is literally immortalised by us mortals of today. Conceived to express thanks and honour to the divine, built by democratic consent of all Athenians and constructed and embellished by geniuses, the Parthenon is the marvel and wonder monument of today.

Thus, millions throng to Athens, from all corners of the planet, to admire, to view and stand next to this perfect building even for a few minutes, a few hours in their lives. It is the influence and inspiration of the Ancient Greeks and their magical creation that feeds the spirit of humanity worldwide.

Humanity needs Classical Greece and Classical Greece needs humanity right now! It is for this very reason that we have mounted this exhibition and who better to assist us in this effort than artists born and bred in Greece who have lived and breathed the freedom and democracy of Athens and its most unique monument:

 The Parthenon

                                                                                                                           all paintings in the exhibition are oil on canvas

 


 

No 1 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )

                                                                  The Parthenon, circa 1998

 signed, signed and inscribed with title on reverse

50 x 70 cm

The sun of Attica plays tricks on vision and shapes and creates its own miracles of incomprehensible beauty. On bright days the Parthenon is dressed in unbelievable colours and the eye struggles to cope with the miraculous vision presented by this beautiful temple. It is indeed an inspirational human achievement and it is at times like these that the Greeks turn eyes, heart and soul to the Parthenon for inspiration and new direction for the country.

Vasilis Zenetzis observes and studies the Parthenon but does not actually copy it. He is inspired and guided by this wonderful monument to capture, through his inimitable impressionist style, its essence and spirit.  He delivers amazing, colourful paintings that will stand for posterity. 


 

No 2 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-  ) The Parthenon from the East - signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1997 40 x 50 cm

No 3 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-) The Parthenon from Philopappou, signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1998, 50 x70 cm


No 4 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )

The Parthenon from the North East with Philopappou in the Distance, painted circa 1995

signed and inscribed on reverse 60 x 90 cm

An artist can create new images from old existing ones, intentionally or unintentionally. What he sees today in one spot appears completely different the following day.  Zenetzis is an impressionist artist who delivers art of the moment, the hour, the day and the psychology of his inner self and soul. The Parthenon, the Acropolis become very different in his hands and spatula from day to day, from season to season, from year to year.

 The painting above belongs to one of those happy moments in the artist’s life when The Parthenon and its environment shed their staccato, ochre colours and adopt much brighter and more colourful hues and tones. What a difference the light and the mood of the artist make to the building.

 This is one of the very few paintings Zenetzis painted from North to South and from an elevated position overlooking the Acropolis. The Erechtheion is in the forefront of the painting but the dominant monument is The Parthenon with Philopappou on the far right. In the background the viewer has a superb image of Athens in blue.

No 5 and 6, Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )
The Parthenon, a pair, painted circa 2002

signed and inscribed and titled on reverse 60 x 90 cm


No 7 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-)

The Erechtheion, painted circa 1996

Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse 40 x50 cm

 

The Erechtheion stands to the left of the Parthenon as we enter the Acropolis from Propylaia. The monument is another example of great architecture and tribute to the Gods built during the Golden Age of Athens between 421-406 BC. Together with the Parthenon and Propylaia they form a triad of unique monuments on The Acropolis of Athens unsurpassed in beauty and originality. The monument is devoted to Erectheus king of Athens.

This fascinating monument is decorated with the six Caryatids, six young Athenian Korai (virgins) a symbol of purity and work ethos. The Caryatids are a sculptural marvel of beauty, dignity, uniformity of purpose and female strength.  Unfortunately, as with the marbles of the Parthenon, Lord Elgin stole one of the Caryatids  in 1806, during the Ottoman occupation of Greece. It is a travesty that this magnificent Kori of Greece is still in London absent from its original position. 


No 8  Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )

The Propylaia on the Acropolis

signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1996, 40 x 50 cm

The Propylaia serves as the monumental entrance to the Acropolis rock.  It is an impressive building designed by Mnesikles just after the completion of the Parthenon in around 437 BC.  Although never fully completed it was a complex structure clearly designed to make a lasting impression on the approaching visitor.  It clearly succeeds in doing so thousands of years later.


Monastiraki, Melting Pot of Greek Civilisation and Culture

The Ancient Greek, the Greco-Roman, old religions and Christianity melt with the Modern harmoniously and magically in the Monastiraki area of Athens. This is where Vasilis Zenetzis stood for ages to draw, paint and be inspired to produce these beautiful paintings for posterity. We are attracted to this magical area of Athens not just by the buzz of the markets and crowds but what is in the ground, in the air, in the unheard voices and smells of long ago. The roots of Humanity are embedded here and reach out to us for ever.  Zenetzis manages to capture this atmosphere magnificently in this series of paintings.

 

No 9 and No 10 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-)

Monastiraki with Acropolis Beyond, a pair

signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, painted 2000,  40 x 50 cm


No 11 and No 12 Vasilis Zenetzis (2005- )

Monastiraki with Acropolis Beyond, a pair

signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, painted 1996,  40 x 30 cm 


 
No 11a Angelos Papadopoulos (1953 - )

Old Athens Monastiraki
Signed, 45 x 60cm


 

Plaka, Ancient and Neo-Classical Athens Live Together

Plaka nestles at the foot of the Acropolis and surrounds it from three directions. This is where old Athens began around 1000 BC and developed over the ages. This is where the Lysicrates Monument, The Roman Agora, Aerides, The Stylae of Olympian Zeus, to mention but a few, can be found. No other Neo-Classical area in the Western world boasts such a luxury of riches as Plaka.  The modern city of Athens stretches for over thirty kilometres from North to South but only one area remains her heart and soul: PLAKA

 

No 13 and No 14, Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935-  )

Plaka with Acropolis Beyond, a pair

signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 2003, 50 x 40 cm

 



No 15 Constantine Maleas (1879 -1928)

The Parthenon on the Acropolis from South East

signed, oil on board, painted circa 1917 – 1920, 21 x 32 cm

Provenance: Private Collection Athens, circa 1930

 

Maleas is considered one of the top twentieth century artists in Greece. He was active between 1908 until 1928, which saw his premature death. Born in Constantinople he had his first higher education in Polis before he went to Paris to study architecture. Like many other important artists, art won him over and he became a student of the Impressionist master Henri Martin, whose influence is evident in this painting.

Maleas returned to Greece in 1908 and after a few years in Thessaloniki he moved to Athens around 1917 where he made it his life’s purpose to paint Greece’s archaeological sites and landscapes. As Kotides mentions in his book (Maleas,Thessaloniki 1982- Thesis, Page 254), “ During his whole life Maleas exhibits art with Parthenon as the subject and title”.  Maleas left for posterity images of immense importance, painted in Impressionist or Modern style much loved and admired by private collectors and museum curators.

This view of the Acropolis was painted circa 1917-1920 in a clear, exquisite, Impressionist style. The Parthenon stands high in the centre of the painting and is the focus of the work. Embraced by the branches of the tree in the foreground and painted in a soft peach colour, the monument becomes a part of nature and without much exaggeration nature itself.  The harmonious earthy colours of The Rock of the Acropolis on which the Parthenon  stands, together with Propylaia to the left and Herod Atticus to the right, deliver a masterful painting that is pleasing to the eye and true to the landscape and area around the Acropolis.     


No 16 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935-  )

The Acropolis from Agora

signed and titled on reverse, painted 2003, 80 x 120 cm

 

An artist creates without much thinking at times being led by instinct.  Zenetzis belongs to a group of artists who is led by instinct, history, love of country and nation. This panoramic view of the Acropolis from Agora and Monastiraki was spontaneous and of the day. He stopped, put his tripod down and started feverish painting, without preliminary drawings or drafts. He was starving to paint!

The day was bright and beautiful. The view was superb and working his way through the piece Zenetzis knew very well that he was creating a work of art for posterity. There is so much to refer to in this painting: the ancient column standing to the right; the Old Acropolis Museum to the left; the beautiful little Church in the middle right; the Neo - Classical houses nestling among thick vegetation below the Acropolis; the grove surrounding the Acropolis; and then the Acropolis itself with all its glorious monuments. In his inimitable style Zenetzis delivers a magnificent painting that will stand the test of time.

Zenetzis is an artist who paints with passion in a style that he loves and that expresses him. He is undeniably the top Greek Impressionist of the last forty years and one recognised among international artists painting in a similar style. Being loved by investors, art experts and auction houses is indeed an endorsement of his art.


  

No 17  Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

The Acropolis from Plaka South with Chapel

signed and inscribed, painted 1998

50 x 70 cm

Today at the foot of the Acropolis and the Parthenon stand several picturesque churches, declaring the connection of Ancient Greece with Christian Hellas today. The Chapel in this painting stands to the north-west of the Acropolis and is frequented by many visitors.  The light palette, gay colours, bright day and location of this painting render it one of the most beautiful in the exhibition.

 


17b  Plaka with Saronicos beyond

signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1991, 80 x 120 cm

Plaka is clearly depicted in this painting nestling at the foot of the Acropolis with the Parthenon taking centre stage. The calm blue of the Saronicos in the background and sunset in the distance conveys a serenity and grandeur to the painting.


17c Yiannis Papanelopoulos ( 1935- )

Plaka from studio of the Artist

Signed, painted circa 2004

60 x 40 cm

 

Papanelopoulos painted the area of Plaka and the Acropolis on many occasions. Plaka from the artist’s studio is an accomplished work of art by one of the most respected senior Greek artists of the 1930s generation.



The Parthenon from South West

The Acropolis from the hills around it looks magnificent especially from the closest one, Philopappou to the South West. This is the spot Zenetzis liked most and this is where he sat painting many views of the Acropolis with the Parthenon, the Herod Atticus Theatre and the Propylaia. From this position the Parthenon takes on an ethereal aspect and somehow appears taller, larger and more complete.

The Acropolis would seem cold and bare without the powerful vegetation that grows on its slopes. The variety of trees and bushes enrich the surrounding area with colour, sound and scented air, a magical feast of all the senses.

The magic of the area does not change nor loses its appeal with the new Acropolis Museum just underneath the Acropolis. Greece is a poor nation today but its culture and history is possibly the richest on the planet. The new Parthenon Museum does not speak of a nation in financial troubles but one of riches in culture and of a humanity endorsing the achievements of the Ancient Greeks!

Lot 18 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

The Acropolis from Philopappou Hill

signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 2004,

80 x 120 cm


No 19 Vasilis Zeneztis ( 1935-  )

The Acropolis and Parthenon from Philopappou

signed, signed and inscribed on reverse,
painted in 2003 - 80 x 120 cm

No 20  Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

The Acropolis from Philopappou
signed and inscribed on reverse,

circa 2003 - 80 x 80 cm

No 21 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, circa 1995, 50 x 40 cm

No 22 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, circa 1997

50 x 40 cm

No 23 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )
Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse,

circa 1997, 50 x 70 cm

No 24 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse,
circa 1997, 50 x 70 cm

The Acropolis with Parthenon & Stylae of Olympian Zeus from Arditos Hill

Painting from Arditos Hill, next to the old Olympic Stadium of 1896, Zenetzis never failed to deliver great paintings as is evident in this series. When an artist is as determined and as dedicated to his art and his mission as Zenetzis, there are no barriers to stop him; trees, bushes and groves could not stop Zenetzis from painting from where he knew was the best vantage point.

No 25 Vasilis Zenetzis

Stylae of Olympian Zeus with Acropolis and Parthenon Beyond

Signed, signed and inscribed on reverse, circa 2003, 80 x 120 cm


 

No 26 and 27  Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

The Acropolis from Arditos, a pair

signed, painted 2004,  20 x 30 cm

Zenetzis reached the zenith of his creativity between 1990 and 2004. During those years he produced some of the best paintings he ever painted, departing at times from his multi-colourful palette to one of near monochrome, in blue and white, the colours of Greece and her flag. This series of small canvases of the Parthenon in blue/white is unique and stand apart from all his other work. These canvases of 2004 are a landmark and speak of an artist whose expression was widening and attaining a higher level.

No 28 and No 29  Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )

The Acropolis and Stylae from Arditos, a pair

signed, painted circa 2004, 30 x 20 cm


 

 No 30, Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

                                                    Stylae of Olympian Zeus with Acropolis Beyond

                                                      signed and inscribed on reverse,  80 x 80 cm,  painted 2003

Zenetzis painted this location several times but never as close to all the last standing columns as in this painting. Here he succeeds in conveying the age of the columns still standing majestically after two thousand years despite the ravages of time.


 

 

No 31 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-  )

The Parthenon on the Acropolis with Stylae of Olympian Zeus from Arditos Hill

signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1996, 60 x 90 cm

This view from Arditos is magnificent. It encompasses so much: the lush vegetation, the pine trees, the Stylae nestling among these, the apartment blocks of modern Athens and dominating the painting the Acropolis and the Parthenon in the distance - a rich panorama!

When the sun is bright, Athens is dressed in beautiful colours of green and ochre from Arditos Hill as can be seen in this painting.  The panoramic view from the hill is amazing and once again captures the magic of this immortal location with its historical monuments.


 

No 32 Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935-  )

Signed, oil on canvas, signed and inscribed on reverse

40 x 50 cm


 

No 33, Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935 -)
Stylea of Olympia Zeus
Signed 40 x 50 cm


Biographies

 

Constantine Maleas (1879- 1928)

Constantine Maleas stands very high in the hierarchy of Greek masters of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Between 1908- 1928 Maleas painted Greece in inimitable styles which have earned him recognition, respect and admiration from important collectors and museums who have been spending significant sums of money to acquire his work. Of particular interest to collectors is his views of the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

 

Angelos Papadopoulos ( 1953- )

Angelos stands out among the artists of the 1950s because of his figurative art and views of Athens. He paints in a very effective free brushstroke in very harmonious colours. We consider Angelos an artist with a bright future who at the moment is very affordable.

 

Yiannis Papanelopoulos ( 1936- )

Papanelopoulos paints powerful images connected with Greece’s history in a unique style and a colouration particular to his work. His views of Athens are magnificent in simplicity and granduer as in the example in the exhibition. His images of the heroes of Greece as well as Greeks at work are particularly important in the artist’s work. The world’s big auctions have recognised the work of the artist where his work sells regularly.

 

Vasilis Zenetzis (1935-  )

Born in Crete, Zenetzis brings into his art the FREE spirit and soul that characterises the people of Crete. A prodigious talent from very young age, he is today the best impressionist in Greece distinguishing himself at the big auctions of the world. The artist lived and worked in Athens near Monastiraki/Acropolis area, where he spent most of his time painting the images we exhibit in this exhibition. All the works of Zenetzis in this exhibition were commissioned to the artist by greeksinart.com. Unfortunately, the artist stopped painting through ill health!

 

 

All paintings in the exhibition are oil on canvas!


 

OLYMPIC SEVEN

 

Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )

Seven Paintings of Athens antiquities by Vasilis Zenetzis painted during The Athens Olympics 2004 are today a landmark in Greek art after eleven years of the Athens Olympics. The paintings are unique in execution, rare in composition as a series of seven and historical for Athens, the Olympics and Greece. Especially dated and inscribed Athens Olympics 2004 on a blue rectangle on the reverse The Magnificent Seven are the only paintings of the Athens historical centre painted on location by any artist, Greek or foreign during the seventeen days of the Olympics.

The MAGNIFICENT SEVEN paintings of the Athens Olympiad 2004

Athens, The Acropolis, The Parthenon and the Olympic Idea were the epicentre of the whole world during the month of August 2004 and especially between the 13th and the 29th when the Olympics were taking place. Zenetzis, a true artist of Athens, a true re-creator of the ancient and modern spirit of Athens remained in Athens during the Olympics. No other artist Greek or foreign was visible during the Olympic days in the Plaka area, The Acropolis area, the Acropolis itself and The Stylae of Olympian Zeus. Only Zenetzis re-visited his beloved locations, saw them through a new lense and spirit and found new spots to paint extremely fresh and spiritual paintings. In a frenzy of creative passion Zenetzis painted seven magnificent views of the Acropolis, the Acropolis with Plaka, The Temple of Olympian Zeus and of course the Parthenon during the Olympics of 2004.

 Provenance: The Magnificent Seven were painted on commission by Greeksinart.com to the artist

Exhibited: Athens - London Olympics 2004-2012, London Cypriot Brotherhood Centre, London 14th -27th November 2011, all seven canvases illustrated on the front page of the Exhibition Catalogue and as Numbers 1-7 of the colour catalogue in the catalogue itself. Number Two of Magnificent Seven was also illustrated on back cover of exhibition's catalogue.

Literature: Athens - London Olympics November 2011 Front Cover illustration of catalogue as well as inside the catalogue from 1-7 plus the back cover illustration of Number Two paiinting.

Rags or Riches London 2013, illustrated in colour as a group of seven page 416

 

Painting No 34

Painted on the 14th of August - 2004

‘The Acropolis with the Parthenon’ 40×50 cm, signed and especially dated and located by the artist on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′
Seated across the road from the monuments of the Acropolis, Zenetzis captured the Acropolis with the southern part of the Parthenon without a preliminary drawing. It was magic to watch him structure the painting from the sky downwards without any kind of sketch. He painstakingly created the vegetation just in front of him and gradually trees, leaves, branches and colours became a living being together with the tourists who were climbing up the Acropolis. The visitors gathered and admired. The crowds photographed and marvelled. What a joy for the artist and what scenes of wonder!
Time and again he re-touched the Parthenon and added more warmth and colour. The wall surrounding the Acropolis with the Herod Atticus Theatre and the Propylea just visible were not forgotten. Zenetzis captured their significance and influence on the eye and the visitor with hard work and tender care. The path leading to the top was skilfully crafted and a few visitors climbing to the rock were also painted. He added colour to the vegetation many times and the end result is a sweet harmony of greens, browns and yellows. A small painting that stands apart with The Parthenon imposing and grandiose, the Acropolis and its foothills vibrating life. The painting from somewhere is emanating the spirit of the times. Zenetzis methodically applied the magic of his spatula and colour’s to deliver and finish an interesting painting in his own inimitable way in about five hours.

 

Painting No 35

Painted on 15th and 16th August - 2004

‘The Acropolis with The Parthenon’ Oil on canvas, 50×70 cm, signed, signed and especially dated and located by the artist on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′
Athens was very hot but also extremely bright and colourful. A real princess, welcoming the hundreds of thousands of Olympic fans from all over the world. Zenetzis wanted to paint the same view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon as in painting N0 1 but from a different spot further south, down the road. He also wanted to use a bigger canvas to include part of the road and the edge of the hill with the people climbing up the rock, the Acropolis. The sun was blazing, the colour’s seemed unbelievably strong, vibrant and attacking the eye mercilessly. After two minutes of drawing the painting Zenetzis applied and spread the first basic layers of colour, immediately attracting crowds around him. Europeans, Asians, Americans, Hispanics, hundreds of people stood close by to see the artist painting.
Slowly and gradually from the sky, to the Acropolis, the trees, the Parthenon, the theatre, the Propylea, all the main elements appeared and turned the canvas into a cosmos of ancient spirit with today’s colourfully dressed people. The crowds kept coming to watch and then carried on climbing the rock while Zenetzis painted and painted. He was in a different world, he was in a world of artistic creation that I had rarely seen before in him.
At about 1:30 and after four hours of non-stop painting he got up from his stone- bench, stopped and started gathering his staff. Tomorrow I will finish it, he said. Zenetzis is an easy going man. His only passion is painting. He paints non-stop and even physical needs are either ignored or forgotten. The following day he carried on where he stopped. Same location, same spot, same stone seat, same sunny, bright weather. Zenetzis has no half measures in his work. He is serious about his painting and when he works he is passionate about it. The painting developed into a bonanza of colour that I seldom witnessed in Vasilis’ work. The Parthenon was fantastically bright, clear and imposing. The people in astonishing, bright colour’s were thronging to climb, to admire the most revered monument of the Western World. The trees in tune with the people were also gay, happy and drenched in bright colour’s Their summer foliage reflected the happy mood of the artist and the city of Athens.
The painting was completed at about one o’clock . Vasilis sculpted the last blobs of colour on the foliage and this celebration of colour was finally finished. Zenetzis seated himself about a hundred metres from the rock. He painted a magnificent painting in which he paid tribute to the Parthenon, the Acropolis and the faithful visitors prepared to climb in their thousands to admire the miracle created some twenty-five centuries ago during the Athens Olympics 2004.

 

Painting No 36

Painted on 18th and 19th August 2004

‘Plaka with the Monument of Aerides and the Acropolis with the Erechtheion above 45 x 60 cm, signed, signed and especially dated by the artist and located on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′

The studio of the artist is about eight hundred metres from Plaka and the location of this painting.
‘When I am happy I paint happy paintings’ the artist Zenetzis keeps telling me. Certainly the two paintings of the three previous days were proof of such a statement. Even though we left the taverna at three o’clock in the morning, Vasilis showed no signs of tiredness or lack of sleep when I saw him at nine o’clock . He seemed refreshed, very happy and ready to paint. At ten o’clock we walked to Plaka from his studio with all our gear. A canvas, tripod, paints, spatulas, water, cameras and our hats. He loved his Van Gogh style hat from London. After all, he keeps saying that he is the Van Gogh of Greece. The tourists were in their thousands all over Plaka. He kept walking to the spot he wanted to paint. I followed him. ‘I want to paint the ancient Greek, the Roman, the neo-classical and the modern together’, he said. He stopped at the corner of the road just before the Roman Agora where the monument of the Aerides is located. The Acropolis was imposing further up and clearly on it the Erechthion. Neo-classical Plaka was nestling between the Acropolis and the Aerides monument and the Roman Agora. The view was a great marriage of buildings from different eras and historical periods. Zenetzis looked more than eager to start. He sat right on the pavement and off he went for the next five hours. Just one drink of water. He kept sculpting on the canvas and slowly and gradually the structure of the painting became obvious but far from clear as this painting has so many divergent elements in it. The various levels, the buildings and monuments took shape and colour. Vasilis kept painting, engrossed in the magic of the place and the view. The Ancient Greek, the Greco-Roman and the neo-classical all together and yet so far apart in time and importance. It was nearly two o’clock when he stopped. ‘This is difficult’ he said, but it will be done tomorrow. The following day and at the same spot, at the same time he continued where he stopped the day before. The end result is a superb painting of one of the most amazing locations of Athens and Plaka. The buildings stand unique on their own and yet they are an integral part of this place called Plaka and the Acropolis. The colour’s stood aloof at one point but in the end Zenetzis sculpted away and added to present us harmony of colour and unity of composition which he himself called gratifyingly ‘beautiful’ .


Painting No 4 that followed was really a continuation of the passion and spirit shown in painting No 3. The artist was in the same happy mood and painted two views of Athens to immortalize the Olympics and the Athens of 2004. In this work Zenetzis presents a masterful composition of architecture, colour and Athenian historical spirit. Watching him to start and finish this painting was an unforgettable experience.

                                                               Painting No 37

Painted on 20th and 21st August

‘Stylae of Olympian Zeus with The Acropolis and The Parthenon Beyond’ 45×60 cm, signed, signed and especially dated by the artist and located on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′

The ruins of the ancient Temple of Zeus are in the centre of Athens just about three hundred meters from the north side of the Acropolis.
Colour’s are nearly always bright in Athens and on days such as this one all the colour’s become a sea of blue, sky blue for Vasilis. He sat under a tree in the area of the ruins and about thirty metres from the columns of the ancient temple. He made sure that he had a clear view of the Acropolis and the south-west side of the Parthenon. He wanted a medium size canvas so that he could finish in two days. He quickly drew the columns, the Acropolis and then the trees in between. The splash of colour’s followed within seconds. Zenetzis loves colour, not pencils. The sky was clear bleu, the Acropolis and the Parthenon appeared beautiful on the canvas and the columns took their time to be formed. On hot days like that one you look for cover. At one o’clock the sun turned, the shadows and shapes started shifting and Zenetzis stopped. Tomorrow I must finish, he whispered. It looked a great picture already and the visitors of the site were captivated by the only artist around the following day Zenetzis carried on as if he never stopped. The colour’s became subtler, the tones became gentler and the greens, blues and browns under the masterly touch of Vasilis became a composition of great sensitivity in applying colour’s on a canvas. There were photos, posing and positioning by the tourists. The two figures, a father and son from Munich, to the left of the picture stood there for Zenetzis to paint. They came to visit and see the Olympics. The figure to the right in a mix of brown colours is myself, photographing the columns for the myriad time. This painting is a truly magical composition of colour and emotion in an environment and situation that is not going to be reproduced again at least for a few generations. Even though the artist had painted other paintings from other spots in this area he has never before painted this particular view in such hues and such subtlety of colour. This is a unique picture painted for a unique occasion and under unique circumstances.

 

Painting No 38

Painted on Sunday 22nd and 23rd August 2004

‘The Parthenon and the Erechthion from the east on the Acropolis’ 50×70 cm, signed, signed and especially dated by the artist and located on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′


Climbing the steps leading onto the Acropolis is a tiring exercise. Climbing it in nearly forty degrees temperatures and carrying a tripod, a canvas, paints, spatulas etc was much harder. However, Vasilis wanted to immortalize once more the temple of Athena from close range and from up the Acropolis itself. He wanted to capture the Olympic spirit in the most renowned building of the Western World. The artist sat himself on the east side of the Acropolis at about ten o’clock . He sat looking west towards Saronicos Bay . There were tens of thousands of people around the monuments on this bright, hot day. It was a superb view with the Parthenon as glorious as ever. People needed no invitation to come to admire the only artist painting the Acropolis and the Parthenon on that day and any other day it seemed. They posed next to him; they photographed the painting and Vasilis asking question after question. They admired a true artist painting the most significant location of Western Civilization. There were no other artists around, nobody else painting en plein air in our seventeen days journey around the antiquities of Athens. Only Zenetzis, who has already earned his reputation and admiration of collectors because of his paintings of Plaka and the Acropolis.The canvas kept changing. The Parthenon, the scattered columns, the Erechthion, the bay in the distance to the left, the world of tourists, one by one appeared timidly on the canvas. It was very difficult to paint the Parthenon. So impressive and imposing from such a short distance. Vasilis was sitting only about forty metres away. Time and again Zenetzis added colour and substance to the building but it was elusive. The people were no help. Too many of them perched on the highest point of the Acropolis. At one o’clock we climbed down the rock. Vasilis was happy with the painting but it was far from finished, as he said. Nine o’clock tomorrow, he called. Just passed nine o’clock and we were at the same spot the following day. Impatient as ever to paint, Zenetzis hurried to his canvas. He finished the Erechthion, he cleared the sea and the sky. The paths on the rock became clearer and myriads of people could have been added.
Then came the hard bit. Painting the Parthenon with the right proportions and the correct shades was a difficult task. The hardest of all was to capture the air and spirit of the time, the Olympics. The Olympics were his inspiration and in these paintings he no doubt captured the spirit of the time. It proved harder to paint this painting than he anticipated, but the result was great. A Parthenon drenched in Mediterranean blues, in bright sunlight and the Med in the distance. The Erecthtion successfully keeps company to the main monument whereas the visitors of the monuments complete the whole atmosphere of the work. Vasilis was very pleased. The spectators were extremely impressed. It was a privilege for them to watch a real artist painting real pictures on location and under such conditions.The result was a very dynamic composition of the Parthenon with its twin monument on the Acropolis the Erechthion.


Painting No 39

Painted on 25th and 26th August 2004

‘The Acropolis from Stylea of Olympian Zeus’ signed, 60 x 90 cm, signed and especially dated by the artist and located on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004′


The visit to the area of the temple of Zeus , painting No 3, was the beginning of this painting of the Acropolis. From the beginning of this visit Zenetzis wanted to concentrate on the rock. He went round the whole area of the temple and in the end he placed his tripod somewhere in the middle of the area just to the right of the temple. It was clear to me that he wanted to include in the painting the Arch of Andrianos which lies just outside the area of the temple. It was a hot, windy day with bright blue skies and restless white clouds in the horizon.
Vasilis wasted no time. He got down to work. In literally two minutes he drew a few pencil lines on the canvas and then the colour’s expanded gradually until the canvas was completely covered in a thick layer of blue, green, brown and yellow. This brought round him tens of tourists. They photographed, they marveled, they posed next to him and asked me questions. He never stopped, never bothered with the interest of so many people. The wind was a small problem but the tripod was well secured on the ground. Dust kept lifting dust onto the canvas but that was no problem for Zenetzis. The blues of the sky were great. High up was the Acropolis with the Parthenon perched as grandiose as ever. The Parthenon was shining great, the Greek Flag was flowing majestic and hundreds of people were moving up the rock.
The greens of the trees below were getting ever so bluish and the arch of Emperor Andrianos was taking shape in the middle. Five hours after we arrived Vasilis got up tired but happy. This is very beautiful, he mused. I will definitely finish tomorrow. It was about two o’clock and the sun was really blazing. The painting looked finished already but that was for the eyes of the onlookers, not Zenetzis. On Friday 27th August we entered the temple’s area at ten o’clock . Our bench was waiting and Zenetzis set his tripod and arranged his colour’s on his palette. Same spot, same place, same sun and wind. The zest, fervor and desire to paint were astonishing considering the fact that Zenetzis is a seventy year old man who has been painting since sixteen.
The canvas kept looking prettier and prettier. The bright colour’s mellowed a little, the greens became azure and the sky was still as blue as ever with some white clouds scattered around. The whole canvas became a symphony of blue with the Acropolis beautifully seated on the rock and at its highest point the Parthenon as majestic as I have ever seen it. The Greek flag kept floating proudly like Athens and the whole of the country. This was indeed a very special picture. It was a poem of colour and a hymn to the glory of Ancient Greece. Vasilis Zenetzis created a great picture in his own way, in his own impressionist/divisionist style and of his own mental state.

 

Painting No 40

Painted on 28th and 29th August 2004


‘The Acropolis with Saint George Lykavitos from the West’
signed, 60×90 cm, signed and especially dated by the artist and located on reverse with a blue rectangle inscribed ‘Athens Olympics 2004 ‘


The approaching finale of the Olympics energized Zenetzis. He wanted this series of paintings very much and nothing else was on his mind. He wanted to capture the atmosphere of the occasion with the Acropolis and The Parthenon in the centre from all possible views and angles, new and old.

The hills on the west of the Acropolis had been visited before and especially from the Filopappos area. The area from the Asteroskopion though was not fully explored. Zenetzis never painted the Acropolis from this area before, as he admitted to me. We climbed the hill loaded with paints, a canvas 60×90 cm, a tripod, water, cameras and an umbrella. No need to mention the Van Gogh hat of Zenetzis. It was his inspiration perhaps. There were many locations to stop and start work. Vasilis was in a great mood and wanted the best possible spot for this last painting of the series. He stopped at this pine tree, sort of a bush rather with a crooked trunk. He looked and looked towards the Acropolis. This is it, he said.

The location and the view for this painting looked magical. Zenetzis could see the whole of the rock beyond the small grove. Standing bright and pulsating with life were the Propylea, the Parthenon and the Erechthion and the whole of the south-west of the Acropolis. Also magnificent to the left of the Acropolis was part of Athens and in the distance the hill of Likavitos with the whitewashed church of Saint George seated prettily on the top. What a view, what a fusion of ancient and modern architecture, what a fusion of ancient and modern religion.

Vasilis sat in between the branches of the pine tree and he literally used the trunk of the tree to sit on and paint. He acted as if it was the first time he painted. He sketched in pencil very quickly and in a moment the canvas was full of vibrant colour’s. Blues, greens, browns, yellows and pinks filled the canvas in an abstract and yet clear way. He soon gave shape to the sky, the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the hills beyond, the pine trees in the foreground and the dark volume of Athens and the hill of Likavitos to the left.

Painting in such conditions was not easy for Vasilis. He took a couple of minutes break at some point and perched in his tree again. The canvas was constantly changing and the artist was immersed in his world of creating a beautiful painting. Even on this remote spot tourists came and watched. They lingered, they talked, they photographed and admired the artist demystifying nature and human creation.

It was just about two o’clock when Vasilis got up. I think we are going to call it a day, he said. I shall finish tomorrow. The painting even though unfinished looked great. The colour’s were already complimentary, subtle and pleasing to the eye. The Parthenon and the Propylea were discernible and in general all was in place but far from complete and finished.

Sunday was the last day of the Olympics. We were up on the hill at nine-thirty. Nothing changed ! The sky, the sun, the heat. Only Zenetzis was in a hurry. It was important for him to finish. The Acropolis with the Parthenon, the Propylea and the visible side of the Erechthion were finished first. The buildings of Athens to the left and the church of Saint George were added next. The colour’s looked beautiful and ever so subtle and harmonious.

Finally he began working on the trees in the forefront of the painting. He loves the multitude of colours in his paintings. The soft greens and pale blues became an azure colour. It was about one o’clock and Zenetzis was nearly finished with the painting. Figures climbing up the Acropolis were added.

Then we had an unexpected audience. A young family with three children approached. They marveled at the painting. They took photos, they asked questions. I asked them whether they wanted to be included in the painting. They gladly posed for Vasilis by sitting on the small rock to the right. The icing on the cake was in place. What an amazing painting! What an achievement on the last day of the Athens Olympics 2004!

It was two-thirty on the 29th of August 2004 . The series of seven paintings became history and their significance will only be known in the years to come.


www.greeksinart.com A Freedom site through art


Vasilis Mastoras  ( 1952- )

Peaches in a Basket

Signed and dated 1989, oil on canvas,

60 x 80 cm

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