TSOKOS Dionysis (1820-1962) “Boat of Greeks”

Boat of Greeks

This painting was purchased in Italy by Evangelos Averoff-Tossizza after World War II. It depicts the flight of the inhabitants of Parga in 1819, after the British sold their island to Ali Pasha. Europe was shocked by this uprooting and many artists dealt with the subject in their work. Among them was Ludovico Lipparini, a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and teacher of Dionysus Tsokos from 1844 to 1847. In 1844, Lipparini exhibited the painting `Una Barca di Greci` (A Boat of Greeks) in Venice, a theme that Tsokos repeated in the Averoff work, which he painted following impact made by his teacher`s picture. That this version was painted by Tsokos during his years of study under Lipparini is corroborated by the fact that it was discovered and purchased in Italy. The painting depicts a boat full of refugees – resistance fighters, a priest, and a woman – floundering on the waves as it heads for foreign shores. One gallant lad stands embracing the mast and holding the Greek flag, gazing intently at the fatherland he is abandoning, while the captain holds fast to the helm. Despite the fact that Tsokos repeats the pictorial model used by his teacher, and, like him, maneuvers within the framework of academic idealism, he nevertheless allows his personal experiences and the emotion arising from his patriotic sentiments to emerge. This leads him to a sentimental rendering in which the romantic element prevails.