Theophilos Hatzimichail (1870-1934)

The pioneer of Greek popular art.

  • His patronym was “Kefalas”; he signed his works with his mother’s family name.
  • Theophilos was also known as “o Foustanelás”, because he would go about his daily business wearing traditional greek garb. As a result, he was often ridiculed and mistreated by the public.
  • His work is easily recognizable by its popular Greek elements, as well as by the depiction of Hellenic traditions and popular history; greek poet and nobellist Odysseus Elytis famously said that his work “depicts our true face”. Theophilos was self-taught.
  • Many of the pieces he realised were frescoes, done in exchange for room and board.
  • For all that he travelled often and always painted through his journeys, the artist might have been forgotten if not for the editor Stratis Eleftheriadis (Tériade in French). Tériade fought to bring Theophilos to the spotlight, organising a great exhibition of his works in 1961, at the Louvre. This attempt was a major success.
  • It is perhaps
  • At the time of writing, Theophilos is the one artist whose works cannot be exported out of Greece.