Fotis Kontoglou, 1895-1965
Kontoglou was born in 1895 in Aivali of
Asia Minor. His surname was Apostolelis.
His mother Despoina Kontoglou and her brother
Stefanos Kontoglou, who used to be the abbot
of the family monastery of Aghia Paraskevi,
brought him up. In this monastery, close
to the sea and its people, he lived his
childhood and due to his great love for
the sea, at the beginning he wanted to be
1913 his uncle Stefanos registers Fotis
in the School of Fine Arts in Athens, which
he leaves in 1915 to travel to France, Spain,
Portugal, Angola and elsewhere.
He settles in Paris where
he gets an award for the illustration he
made for Knout Hamsoun's ''Hunger''. He
writes and illustrates his book ''Pedro
Kazas'' and he becomes well known .
He comes back to Greece
after the Asia Minor disaster, and in 1923
he visits Athos Monasteries for the first
time where he studies the Byzantine hagiography,
which becomes the dominating characteristic
of his painting.
In 1925 he gets married
with Maria Hatzikambouri from his native
town Aivali and, together with his apprentices
Yannis Tsarouchis and N.Engonopoulos, he
paints the walls of his house creating a
fresco in the front room of his house
(now in the National Art Gallery in Athens).
In 1933 the Egyptian Government
invites him to work at the Coptic Museum.
He gets employed in the Athens College as
a painting professor, having famous personalities
among his students.
In the coming years he
cleans the Perivleptos Church in Mystras
wall paintings, he creates the holy hagiographies
for many churches among which the beautiful
Kapnikarea in the center of Athens, and
he undertakes the monumental wall painting
of the Athenian
Municipality where the ''uniformity
of the race'' is depicted, from the Greek
Patriarchs until the 19th century.
He translates a Moliero's
play, which will be played next year by
the National Theater and he makes the portrait
of Hatzi Ousta Iordanoglou and his son Homer.
Together with his paintings
and his writings, he publishes more than
3000 studies and articles, fighting for
the eternal values of the Orthodoxy and
the Greek Tradition. For his diligence he
is awarded the Cross of the Commander of
the Phoenix. Also, for his famous book ''Ekfrassis
of the Orthodox Iconography'' (Expression)
he was awarded a prize from the Athens Academy
and for the totality of his exceptional
work the Athens Academy awards him the Distinction
of Letters and Arts. On July 13th, 1965,
he dies, in Athens at his 70's.