Doxaras Panagiotis (1662 - 1729)
The Virgin Mary, ca 1700
According to the prevailing point of view, he was born in Koutifari, Mani, but in 1664/1665 his family settled in Zakynthos, which was then under Venetian occupation. There in 1685 he took lessons in icon painting under the Cretan painter Leo Moskos. Among his first known works is numbered his icon Christ as High Priest which he painted in 1691 for Our Lady of the Angels church in Zakynthos, later painted over by Nikolaos Koutouzis. In 1694-1699 he took part in the wars of the Venetians against the Ottomans and because of that was awarded the Order of Knight, while later he was also ceded land in Lefkada. From the turn of the century until 1704 he lived in Italy where in all likelihood he studied painting. Upon his return he settled in Venetian-occupied Kalamata where he stayed until 1715, the year in which the area came under Turkish domination. In 1719 he painted, in line with western models, the “Portrait of Count Matthias von der Schulenburg” (Athens, Private Collection); von der Schulenburg was the German Commander-in-Chief of the Venetian forces during the siege of Corfu by the Turks (1714-1718). This work, signed and dated, is numbered, along with the “Portrait of Schulenburg” in the Collection of the E. Koutlidis Foundation (1725), among the few unquestioned examples of the artist’s work. In 1727 he painted seventeen compositions for the urania (ceiling) of the church of Ayios Spyridon in Corfu, which were subsequently replaced by copies done in 1853-1871 by N. Aspiotis. Two of his eight children, Nikolaos and Dimitrios, also turned to painting.
This painter was also involved with the study, translation and compilation of theoretical writings on art. Thus in 1720 he translated in Italy the essay by Leonardo da Vinci “Trattato de la Pittura” (On Painting) and in 1724 he appended to the work the relevant texts of Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Pozzo and others. In 1723 he completed Περί Ζωγραφίας (On Painting) which at first was thought to be an original work, but which more recent investigation has shown to be an anthology of translations of Italian texts from the 17th and 18th century.
The theoretical and artistic work of Panagiotis Doxaras, who launched Ionian island painting, also signals the starting point of modern Greek art by detaching it from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine traditions and getting it to adopt the principles of western European painting, both on the level of technique and the level of style, not to mention the broader perception of art itself.
The Virgin Mary, ca 1700
Portrait of Count Schulenburg, 1725
The Archangel Michael
Virgin and Child
The Holy Family, ca 1700