(c. 1870—1934)

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


Greek naive painter, the most famous produced by his country. He was born at Varia, near Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, and earned his living as an itinerant craftsman, travelling from village to village decorating shops and houses. His subjects were mainly from ancient Greek history, the War of Independence against Turkey, and idealized representations of Greek soldiers, peasant women, etc. He was ‘discovered’ in 1929 in consequence of the vogue for naive painting, which was then at its height, and thereafter he worked on panel paintings rather than popular murals (most of which have been destroyed). In the 1930s he was exalted as a model of authentic Greekness and the first monograph on him was published in 1939. His countryman Tériade promoted him in Paris as a Greek equivalent of Henri Rousseau. Several substantial exhibitions have been dedicated to Theophilos (Athens, 1947; Berne, 1960; Paris, 1961) and a museum of his work opened at his birthplace in 1965.

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.