Printmaking in Greece and Cyprus is closely related, although Greek printmaking is older that the Cypriot one. The anonymous lithograph representing Archbishop Kyprianos testifies this: the portrait of a martyr of the history of orthodox Cyprus is integrated in a framework that accompanies portraits of other personalities of the «Greek Pantheon».
A Cypriot association ordered it and it was printed in Corfu by the lithographic printing house “Aspiotis”.
Printmaking is not known in Greece under Ottoman rule, although in the 18th century, as in whole Europe, icons on paper are released as devotional objects, and there are a few prints with secular subjects in the Ionian Islands, under the cultural influence of Italy. In the 19th century, printmakers-craftsmen create wood engravings to reproduce drawings of foreign artists for the illustration of books and magazines. Artistic printmaking appears in the late 19th century when Greek painters begin to study in Western Europe, often in Paris where they learn printmaking. The first woodcuts are printed and the first inta-glio prints appear after 1900. After 1930, Yiannis Kefallinos becomes the first Professor of Printmaking at the Athens School of Fine Arts and opens a workshop where the first generation of printmakers of the Greek school is educated, with printmakers from Greece and Cyprus such as Α. Tassos, Vaso Katraki, Telemachos Kanthos, whose works are in this catalogue.
Demetrios Galanis settles in Paris in 1900, and after 1918 he converts to printmaking which becomes his only mean of expression. Most commonly known as Galanis in Europe, he creates wood engravings, lithographs and inta-glio prints. A very sought after illustrator, he makes prints for the illustration of books of many French authors.
Vaso Katraki, whose art may be charac- terised by anthropocentrism and expres-sionism, mainly creates woodcuts and stone-cuts (which she prints like wood, relief printing). Pure and simple lines, solid colour surfaces with a strong contrast between black and white give to her prints the emotion of a primitive and powerful humanism.
Α. Tassos, student of Kefallinos until 1939, dedicates his life in printmaking – mainly woodcutting – through which he keeps illustrating ordinary people. His committed printmaking is fighting for these ordinary people, as well as for freedom and justice.
In 1969, following Alekos Panagoulis attempt to kill Dictator Georgios Papadopoulos, the series The Tyrannicides is dedicated to Harmodius and Aristogeiton and to all those who fight against dictatorship.
In general, the experience from Metaxas’ dictatorship, the civil war and junta is echoing in the works of many printmakers whose ideals are being violated.
Woodcuts and wood engravings, lino-cuts, lithographs created by printmakers who often acquired a wide experience in printmaking in Greece and abroad, testify the variety of both the techniques and the personal language of Greek printmakers.
Established painters and sculptors are also shifting towards printmaking, completing their experiments by the use of different intaglio techniques – often combined in their works.
Thodoros’ whole life and work are marked with his concerns in relation to time and movement. Since 1960, the wheel as a theme of his work condenses the various aspects of this spectrum of his artistic experiments.
Top visual artist and author Chronis Botsoglou’s work is versatile, with paintings, sculptures and prints – even in his subjects and in printmaking itself: woodcuts, intaglio prints with various methods but also digital prints, compose a rich printmaking work.
The generations of younger printmakers continue the rich tradition, following the trends of European printmaking, creating works with a free inspiration and using various and mixed techniques.
Dimitra Siaterli, co-founder – with Pino Pandolfini – of the Athens Printmaking Centre, is experimenting, as visual artist, with materials, techniques and technologies. Prints dominate her work: she explores the intaglio methods, combines them and takes her public to a word of archetypal figures and scenes.