NIKOLAOU Nikos (1909-1986) “Mermaid”


Nikos Nikolaou`s personal development is traced in a purely anthropocentric painting, supported by a profound knowledge, study, and assimilation of both the principles and cannons of ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian art as well as the elements of folk tradition that he experienced in his birthplace Hydra and in his mother`s antique shop. In his early work, the human figure, be it male or female, was displayed imposingly with rough, clear outlines in unified, planes of flat color that acquire sensibility and tonality only through the diffuse light of nature. Later, he used a delicate or more obvious chiaroscuro, but the figure remained monumental with considerable plasticity and hieratical grandeur. He renders the primal male-female relationship in a limited palette of earth tones that intimate a tranquil atmosphere of intimate communication. In the last twenty years, his obsession with depicting the female form, exclusively, with a monumental immobility and ritualistic gesture invokes the Mother-Goddess, the symbol of fertility and creativity. This is particularly evident in the large series of stones in which he utilized the natural shaping of the material by the sea and the wind, and with minimal linear intervention gave it flesh, life and spirit. And when, alongside his usual subject matter, he also paints landscapes of his beloved Hydra or mermaids, ships, or pottery, his reductivist sensibility still prevails both in his use of line in drawing and in his clean placement of planes of flat color.