Panayiotis Tetsis (1925-2016)

Audio tour

Athens landscape, 1960, oil on canvas, 70.3 x 154.5 cm

We are looking at part of the dense – almost suffocating – Athenian cityscape, one of Tetsis’s ever preferred themes, which he painted again and again in his own personal style.

Geometric volumes of buildings, shown one on top of the other, fill the surface of the canvas and guide the viewer’s gaze. It is by choice that the horizon is absent, making the density of construction in the city of Athens seem even heavier. Greek light, combined with the bright earthy colours of the neoclassical buildings still found in parts of Athens, charms the viewer and injects tension to the landscape. The latter is only recorded, represented; not elaborately depicted. Tetsis sets off from what he sees and, with the help of colour and abstraction, creates a personal view of the landscape, while at the same time allowing us the room to re-imagine it and to imbue ourselves in a soulful reading.

The free but solid structuring of the work, the alternating tonalities and the rich palette used, give rhythm and pulse to the whole composition, touching the viewer and bringing to mind memories from the past.

Panayiotis Tetsis assimilated elements from Modernism and Abstraction and using colour as his vehicle managed to capture views of the Greek landscape and modern Greek reality in a very distinct way. As a professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, he has influenced several modern Greek painters.