Executed in 1975.
Fascinating for its references to widely-held mythological perceptions, The Four Seasons borrows from the recognition of human qualities in divine beings, deities, and the elements as seen in ancient Greece. The portraits of Tsarouchis' friends Alain Drogue and Despina respectively represent Summer and Spring, the artist's favoured model Dominic sat for Autumn (see also lot 22), and Tsarouchis included himself in a self-portrait as Winter.
Drawing from the aesthetics of Byzantine art, as well as the iconography of the biblical Four Evangelists, in the present work Tsarouchis gives a monumental spiritual and natural significance to the figures. In gracing their heads with halos and their shoulders with the suggestion of wings, the artist raises simple portraits to the status of icons, and refers to the vibrant artistic tradition of Greek antiquity.
As well as re-introducing antique and classical themes and concepts, Tsarouchis became actively involved with the popular art movement and the search for a national aesthetic. He travelled extensively in Greece and studied Byzantine music, painting and textiles with his friend Kontoglou, and was particularly inspired by the works of Matisse and Demetrios Galanis. As one of the most important representatives of the Thirties Generation, Tsarouchis embodied in his work the ideal of 'Greekness'. His unique personal style found its roots in a multiplicity of influences from Hellenistic and Byzantine art, the art of the Renaissance as well as the work of Theofilos and Kontoglou.
Tsarouchis' initial training was at the School of Fine Arts in Athens under Jakobides and Parthenis, while also working in the studio of Fotis Kontoglou, a religious painter who exposed him to Byzantine art. In 1935 Tsarouchis left Athens for Paris. It was in the French capital that he was able to study the work of the Renaissance masters and French Impressionists. Immersing himself in the Parisian avant-garde, he befriended painters such as Matisse and Giacometti. After another sojourn in his home country, Tsarouchis returned to France in 1967 due to burgeoning political developments, later putting the finishing touches on The Four Seasons at his home in Villeneuve-les-Sablons.
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