Girls with Bicycles, 1994
After studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1948 - 1956) and then at Florence's Accademia di Belle Arti and much travel in Europe, Kontoyannis settled in his village of Aghii Theodori in Magnesia. As a painter of his era, he felt deeply the post-War concerns which led to the stripping of the object of form and the rendering of reality in its most general and broadest sense, through spontaneous and free expression, as taught by abstract expressionism. As traditional aesthetic values were abrogated, the very act of creativity led to a painting of colour and form which was striking, explosive, dramatic. Nevertheless, Kontoyannis's humanist ideology - which he acquired through an in-depth classical education and which he consciously sought in Renaissance Florence - did not permit him to wander far from recognisable reality and its truth. He did not abandon himself to the liquidation of colour which resulted in the form being diffused in the space, but organised the surface and the form, subduing it to an inner structure, by means of colour.