Chronis Botsoglou (1941- )

Audio tour

Mountain hours, 2013, triptych, oil on canvas, 100 x 210 cm (morning: 100x70 cm, noon: 99.8 x 69.7 cm, nightfall: 99.9 x 70 cm)

A large-size artwork in three parts, Mountain hours is a typical example of the countryside landscapes to which Chronis Botsoglou has devoted much time and effort in recent years. His theme here is the scenery he sees from the window of his home in Petri, on the island of Lesvos.

The view is panoramic and looks like a snapshot taken with a fish-eye camera lens. Each part of the triptych has been composed separately, but in a way that serves the overall sense of a whole. Yellows, greens, blues and earthy browns coexist throughout the arrangement, bringing out the diversity of the terrain and the island’s geomorphology. The artist does not depict what he sees in a merely mimicking fashion, but rather grafts it with his personal experiences, his emotions and his own private take of what he has so many times observed outside the window of his house.

An interesting feature is that the landscape is presented in various different phases – depending on the weather conditions, the time of the day, or even the painter’s particular frame of mind – within the same composition. For instance, a strong contrast can be observed between the lower left-hand section of the work and the central point. The vivid yellow colouring in the middle of the painting is juxtaposed against the deep mauve (or effectively purple-black) crevasse located near the lowermost part of the left-hand side, whereas the deep blue sky high on the left contrasts with the cerulean and violet tones of the sky close to the upper edge of the right-hand side.

Botsoglou did not engage in landscape painting, when he was younger. To the contrary, we have all come to know him through his innumerable portraitures, where his characters appear melancholic, authentic, and without any prettifications. However, in the last ten years or so, the painter has increasingly turned to landscapes. He explains why he has waited to reach an older age before attempting to deal with landscapes, in his own characteristic wording: “I think, when I get old, when I’ll have paid my dues and have no other worry on my mind, I’ll sit here with a very large canvas stretcher and paint the mountain. I think in my old age I’ll have the eyes with which to see the flatland and the mountain and the sea. I will have earned the modesty and the patience required to see the trees and the crops grow. So far I’ve never dared to move beyond drawing sketches. And I’m so proud of Theophilos who has painted it all so real”.

His patience and persistence have proved to be quite rewarding, as much for him, as for us.