How critics nudged art along

For the past three years, a committed team at the University of Crete has been roaming through archives in Greek institutions in order to trace and document 20th century Greek art criticism. This ambitious undertaking, the first of its kind in Greece, was initiated by Evgenios Matthiopoulos, assistant professor of art history at the University of Crete, and is both supported and funded by the Institute of Mediterranean Studies. The goal is to document all the articles on art criticism published in major Greek newspapers and magazines and written by a selected number of art critics; those who are considered to have left their mark in Greek art criticism. The project involves systematic documentation, which begins from early 20th century Greek art critics such as Episkopopoulos Nikolaos, Pavlos Nirvanas and D.I. Kalogeropoulos before moving on to Zacharias Papantoniou in the interwar period and reaching up to the present. Progressing in a non-chronological order, the research has already covered a broad area. The documentation completed thus far includes 400 articles written by Giorgos Petris-Simou in different publications (examples include Iridanos and Chroniko) from the mid-’50s to the mid-’80s, the articles of Tonis Spiteris from 1955-67 and 670 articles that Kathimerini art critic Angelos Prokopiou wrote in the two decades between 1948 and 1967. Not yet available to the general public, the outcome of this research will before long be accessible in the form of a CD-ROM. Flexible and easy to use, the documented data can be accessed in multiple ways, including the name of the artist, the art critic, publication, the gallery where the exhibition was held, the art movement, and the title of the painting; all are key words that can download information. Plans are also afoot for making the documentation available on the Web. Once completed, the project will provide specialists with a vital working tool while also giving the general public a more comprehensive understanding of how Greek art criticism helped develop 20th century Greek art.

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