CULTURE

A pilgrimage to Mount Athos through the eyes of Spyros Papaloukas

Each new publication from the Athonite Gallery selected by Father Justinos, a monk at Simonopetra Monastery, brings us closer to the Garden of the Blessed Virgin on Mount Athos. For women around the world, these books are like a bridge, images of severity and blessedness that are the foundation of that mysterious holy place, set in a landscape of unparalleled natural grandeur. With «Spyros Papaloukas: Time on Athos,» published by the Athonite Gallery and sponsored by N.I. Theocharakis SA, in which the subject – a year in the monastic state of Athos – is imbued with the colors and faith of the leading portrayer of Athos, Spyros Papaloukas, art comes closer to God. The book of 208 color photos of the artist’s landscape and Byzantine paintings was launched Thursday at the Byzantine Museum at an event held by the Friends of Mount Athos. Born in Desfina in 1892, Fokida, Papaloukas died in Athens in 1957 as a painting professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts. His daughter Mina Papalouka is the ardent custodian of his work and memory. Papaloukas spent a year on Athos, (1923-24), painting the landscape, studying Byzantine painting and making copies of many ecclesiastical works of art. He exhibited many of the works reproduced in this book at the White Tower in Thessaloniki in 1924, drawing large crowds. His pupil Vassilis Theocharakis writes that Papaloukas was «dazzled by the Greek light» and attracted by «the lush vegetation of Mount Athos, the age-old monasteries with the patina of so many centuries on them.»