Hydra - Economou Michael

Economou Michael (1884 - 1933)

Hydra, 1929 - 1931

Oil on cloth, 62 x 50 cm

Donated by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs

Inv. Number Κ.595
On view Main Building

Michalis Oikonomou’s familiar style is also evident in this painting. The vertical composition is based on a diagonal. A two-floor house leans against a huge rock by the sea. A red boat is tied on the water’s edge. A female figure, once again incorporated into the landscape, is climbing on the steps of a sloping path. There are no shadows here. The colour palette is the one always used by Michalis Oikonomou: white, ochre, sky-blue, red, a touch of black. Everything is suspended, captured in fluid shapes, faint outlines, impregnated with atmosphere. Everything is kept within the surface, declaring, “I am a painting — not a ‘photographic’ reproduction of the world”.

Like other Greek artists, Michalis Oikonomou was influenced by the French painters who established the Nabi Group. Nabi is a Yiddish word, meaning prophet. The painters Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Maurice Dennis (1870-1943) and others were members of this group. They painted landscapes, interiors, still lifes, everyday life scenes, incorporating figures as if they were part of the space, just like Michalis Oikonomou does, often charging their images with symbolism. This is how Oikonomou’s paintings must be seen, too — like a journey in the land of dreams.