Photis Kontoglou was born in 1895 on the eastern side of the Aegean in the town of Ayvali in Asia Minor. He began his studies at the Athens School of Fine Art around the time of the outbreak of World War I and then left to journey through France, Spain and Belgium. His wanderings eventually brought him to Paris where he settled. In the wake of the Asia Minor disaster in 1922, he found himself uprooted and made a refugee among his own people in Greece. After visiting Mount Athos, he immersed himself in the Byzantine painting tradition.
Kontoglou: The Return of the Byzantine Icon is only the third in the United States devoted to this celebrated iconographer who was primarily responsible for the revival of the Byzantine artistic tradition in Greek Orthodox sacred art during the 20th century. Through his numerous icon panels, wall paintings, drawings and writings, Kontoglou’s artistic and literary careers were central to the return of the Byzantine iconographic forms for expressing visual piety and Orthodox dogma, not only in Greece but in the Orthodox Church worldwide.
The exhibition is open to the public Monday–Friday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. It is part of the celebrations marking the establishment of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture.
The exhibition is curated by The Very Reverend Dr. Joachim Cotsonis, Director, Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Resource Center, Hellenic College Holy Cross.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture.
The following individuals and institutions are thanked for loaning their icons of Photis Kontoglou and those of his student, Petros Vampoules:
Department of Religious Education, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
The Emmanuel and Argie Tiliakos Collection, Winchester, MA
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Charleston, SC
Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, MA