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Theophilos Hadzimichail

Greece's great folk artist

Symposium of Empress Eudoxia

Born on Lésvos, Theóphilos Hadzimichaíl (1866–1934) had piercing blue eyes and always dressed in a traditional white kilt (foustanélla) and clogs with tassels (tsaroúchia), and painted the most passionate and truest paintings modern Greece has produced, ‘like the trembling of the dew’, as Seferis described them – sometimes on walls of shops, or on tins or rags – whatever he could find.

Portrait photo of painter Theophilos Hatzimichael, 1900

After learning the basics of painting from his icon-painter grandfather, he left home at age 18, first serving as doorman at the Greek consulate in Izmir before ending up in Vólos and the Pelion peninsula in 1895 where he painted oils and murals, usually in exchange for ouzo and his supper: fascinating scenes from daily life, or Greek history, folktales or mythology that were immediate, vivid, fresh and full of light and colour.

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Sidelights and Myths

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by PD Art, Unknown authorUnknown author