I have two basic aspirations, despite the thousands of differences between my works.

One aspiration is, so to speak, neoclassical and tries to assimilate the ancient classical ideal, as expressed for the entire world in later times by the Renaissance and Baroque.

My other trend is to express all my objections to my own ideal, assisted by the great objectors of our time, and also by ancient Greek models, which often provide testimony and support for the objections.

Given the distinction, we may define the chronological sequence of the two trends.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yannis Tsarouchis

[ 1925 - 1934 ]

1925 – 1928    Water-colours with a conservative naturalism

1928 – 1930    Influence of oriental expressionism

1931 – 1934    Studies under Kondoglou. Learning Byzantine Art, study of Coptic weaving, Byzantine music and dances in the Greek provinces                          

“Ever since I was a little child, I have tried to capture what moves me deeply, and I find that the best way to do this is to combine drawing and colour.”

(εγώ ειμί πτωχός και πένης - 1988)

“[kondoglou] made me his true pupil. He transmitted to me the best thing he possessed: courage and the love of freedom.”

“I owe a lot to Kostis Parthenis, whose strict teaching - like Swedish gymnastics - enabled me easily to approach so-called classical art.”

(Αγαθόν το εξομολογείσθαι - 1986)

[ 1934 - 1939 ]

1934 – 1935    Study of extremist trends, surrealist poems. Trip to Paris. Acquaintance with the 19th-century in Europe, study and influence.

1936 – 1939    Return to Greece. Influence of painted Karagiozis posters and Matisse. Return to oriental expressionism.

“I believe that I’m an explorer, trying to find within me my true faith, and in my work the style that will be most in accord with my own self… Good examples should be recognised and interpreted them according to our own situation, otherwise they become destructive.”

(Ως στρουθίον μονάζον επί δώματος - 1987)

“My love and appreciation of the great ‘moderns’ (Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Chagall, and others) derives from the fact that they expressed a true feeling drawn from reality. All poetic feelings come from this.”

(Λίθον ον απεδοκίμασαν οι οικοδομούντες - 1989)

“Painting is colour. The organisation of colour, however, is essentially drawing, because for me pictorial design consists in placing the colour in the right place and determining its extent."

(Λίθον ον απεδοκίμασαν οι οικοδομούντες - 1989)

[ 1939 - 1953 ]

1939 – 1940    Studies in the spirit of 19th-century naturalism. Throughout the German Occupation I studied from life, based on colour..

1948 – 1953    A few paintings with the aspirations of oriental expressionism.

“… There was the West and the East … I devoted a large part of my activity to getting to know these two worlds, so as not to do either an injustice and not to make any irreparable mistakes. My childhood dream of becoming a good painter had to be changed for a different ideal, which consisted of learning where I am and where I stand … I wanted as far as possible to prepare a fairly solid ground, in which my enthusiasms would not wither before they sprouted. In this way, I didn’t “create an oeuvre” like others. I only made trials and experiments.”

(Αγαθόν το εξομολογείσθαι - 1986)

"The predetermined Greek identity impoverishes us. It makes us academic and dry. Only the Greek identity that exists against our will has any value. Or, rather, a Greek identity is rather like beauty. You do not put it on in the mirror."

Yannis Tsarouchis

[ 1954 - 1966 ]

1954 – 1958    Studies from life

1959 – 1961    Interrupted my painting for the theatre

1962 – 1966    Resumed my studies from life. Clear influence of Byzantine art and Pompeii interlinked with realistic studies from life.

“My problem, like every stage-designer, was that I impulsively also did the stage directions, which never suited the director. Only Koun gave way some-times to the stage directions suggested by the designers, when he found them interesting, invariably to the benefit of the performance.”

(Λίθον ον απεδοκίμασαν οι οικοδομούντες - 1989)

“If I paint, it's because the spectacle of life moves me every day. In order to render it, I have to find a painting style that will move myself, first of all...I personally feel the need to return to realism, which, while resembling the old realism, comes from a man who has lived the drama of modern art with all the power of his soul."

(Λίθον ον απεδοκίμασαν οι οικοδομούντες - 1989)

[ 1967 - 1989 ]

1967 – 1980    Settled in Paris. My studies from life are influenced by 17th and 19th century French painting.

“From 1970, I reacted against this influence with numerous small water-colours, and return to oriental and Greek expressionism, alongside my studies from life…”

(Αγαθόν το εξομολογείσθαι - 1986)

“A style of painting done with the brush and a few suitable colours, ultimately as simple as writing, is a superb means of expression, and I see no reason not to use it.”

(εγώ ειμί πτωχός και πένης - 1988)

“My painting is nourished by solitude and silence, or at least so I dream it will be, and I always appreciated silent people. Silence, whether we make it ourselves or whether others make it, is the best accompaniment for a work of art.”

(Ωσ στρουθίον μονάζον επί δώματος - 1987)

“From the beginning of 1917 to the present, the intention was not to produce a flattering view of my art, but to reveal the searching for those elements that helped my expression repeatedly to liberate itself, rediscovering, perhaps, the eternal laws of painting, if I may be so bold, or that which gives the impression of eternity...

...Living in an age, today, when, basically, there is no freedom, my work will surprise many of those people who want to achieve the unequivocally perfect. I am one of those explorers who search for an instinctive perfection, who have a picture inside them, and I am not concerned about my mistakes and failures. To seek for what is good is better than the good. And all of us struggle for a lost cause, even though it seems important at the time. ”

(Γιάννης Τσαρούχης Ζωγραφική - 1990)
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