MALEAS Konstantinos (1879-1928) “Cypress Tree”

Cypress Tree

Konstantinos Maleas was a forerunner of the spirit of renewal that prevailed in Greece during the second and third decade of the 20th century in both arts and letters. He worked exclusively in landscape, which he treated not as a visual representation of a natural model but as a version of space, the comprehension of which required the viewer`s activity, since naturalistic depiction yields to subjective experience. The anti-naturalistic color, heavy, nervous brushwork, the organization of space into planes of color, and a strong decorative sensibility echoed the pursuits of the Fauves, Nabis, and Sythetists, which can be detected in Maleas` work. In `Cypress Tree,` the painter constructs the composition in units, using a gestural attack of color with no concern for the natural model – only for the impression that he shapes with the sun burning everything around it. Thus, the tree`s foliage is transformed into red flames; the wall that lies in the shade is painted purple, while on the places where sunlight falls, light colored surfaces reflect all these anti-naturalistic colorations. This style of painting dominated Maleas` work until the middle of the second decade of the 20th century.