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Greece’s Celebrated Painter Alekos Fassianos Dies at 86

Alekos Fassianos
Alekos Fassianos has been described as the Greek Picasso. Credit: Salvadoa, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikipedia

Greece’s celebrated painter Alekos Fassianos died on Sunday in Athens. He was 86.

Influenced by abstract art, Fassianos adopted a personal anthropocentric style and was given awards by the French and Russian governments.

Born on December 16, 1935, Fassianos studied violin at the Athens Conservatory and painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1955 to 1960.

Shortly after his first exhibition, he moved from his hometown of Athens to Paris after gaining a French state scholarship to study lithography at the the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts).

He ended up staying in the French capital for the next 35 years.

Although some of his early paintings were in a contemporary style, he also drew a lot of inspiration from popular art and ancient Greek mythology. He was also stirred by Byzantine themes. In addition to painting and lithography, he also illustrated books, designed costumes for theatrical productions and created sculptures.

Alekos Fassianos
“Wings.” Oil on canvas. Credit: National Gallery, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia

Described by some as the Picasso of Greece, Fassianos was widely lauded and many of his works adorn public spaces, including a mural at a subway station in the Greek capital.

Since his first Athens exhibition in 1959, he has had more than 70 personal exhibitions in Paris, Athens, Thessaloniki, Milan, New York, London, Tokyo, Beirut, Hamburg, and Munich to name a few. He was invited to produce stamps and posters for the Athens 2004 Olympics.

In France, he was made a commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and an officer of the Legion of Honor.

in 2011, one of his paintings joined the art collection of the then-Australian PM, Julia Gillard.

The precious heritage of Alekos Fassianos

“All the work of Fassianos, the colors that filled his canvases, the multidimensional forms that dominated his paintings, exude Greece,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni in a statement.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Fassianos “always balanced between realism and abstraction” and he “leaves us a precious heritage.”

An Athens museum devoted to his work will open in the Autumn of 2022 and display some of the works that currently adorn his home.

Fassianos leaves behind his wife, Mariza, and two daughters.

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