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Greek Islands Travel

Themis Tsironis on Skiathos

Many years ago I used to visit the island of Skiathos quite regularly. I don't go so often now as the island has become rather too popular and cosmopolitan for my taste. Even then the locals were complaining at how the Athenian mainlanders were taking over Skiathos. Nowadays the taverna owners are more likely to be Albanian or Russian rather than Greek.

Things got so bad that even a McDonald's appeared briefly in Skiathos Town. Anyway, in earlier days the streets of Skiathos Town has many odd arts and crafts shops — again unlike the tatty tourist trinket shops that run the length of Papadiamantis Street these days.

While rummaging around in one such shop, some rather attractive picture postcards took my eye.

The postcards were of paintings by a Greek folk artist called Themis Tsironis and quite wonderful painting they were — mainly of scenes from Greek life, notably fishermen and boats, and of Greek history, notably Cretan, and mythology.

Many of the originals had been painted on wood and the painting was crudely direct with vivid colours roughly drawn in that typical naive folk art style that remind me of the paintings and drawing of children.

Pictured here is 'Fisherman and Mermaid' painted on wood in 1978. Another gripping painting is 'Sant People' from 1982, again painted on wood and depicting Greek figures in a large crowd, from ancient philosophers to wartime resistance fighters.

I have sought high and low to find out more on this artist, even ringing up experts in the National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum in Athens but no one appears to know much about him.

Searches on the internet have uncovered more paintings but nothing on the artist himself. I would be grateful if anyone could tell me more about the artist and his works. Most of all I would love to own an original.

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  • Donald Mason

    A fellow sufferer, I am afraid. Like you, many years ago, in my case on Aigina, I was taken by Tsironis postcards. I bought 5, all of young people some in wonderfully old-fashioned school uniform. I made the msitake of sending one to a friend, depicting a couple of youths with bicycles. Happily I still have the other four, framed, on the wall.

    Editor's comment: I am thinking of creating a website with details of his pictures. I would love to have some photos if you could be bothered to post them'

  • Jolene

    Around 10 years my mother got me several postcards and 2 posters by Tsironis. She bought them on the island Lesbos. I also tried to find more information about the painter but i found almost nothing

  • Antigone

    Hi. I have 2 posters of his work — One called The Daisy picturing three young women with a daisy. And another one called something like The Mermaid and ...something- maybe Dolphin?? It pictures the mermaid surrounded by fish. It's inaccessible at the moment so sorry, no more detail. I bought them at the Plaka in Athens in 1988 or 1990. I also bought one called The Beautiful Helen which I gave away to a friend, Helen, as a wedding gift. Unfortunately she didn't like it, but I didn't keep in touch with her so it has gone. I'm pretty sure it was also by Themis Tsironis. I'd love to know more about him too.

  • Jasmine

    When we were in Athens in the late 1980's (I believe), we stumbled upon Themis Tsironis' studio in Athens. He was locking up, but kind enough to open his shop and let us browse. His paintings were on wood, but he had prints of them. We purchased 10 posters in all, plus a collection of 8 smaller prints of the heros of the war if 1821. He talked with us at length, and proudly showed us a book about Greek art in which he was mentioned, published by Harvard, I believe. I would love to know more about him. From what I understand from relatives in Greece, he only does commissioned works now.

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