Sunday, 9 August 2015


“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” - Joan of Arc

George Kordis (Γεώργιος Κορδής) is a modern Greek artist who has been trained to paint icons in the Byzantine tradition and has achieved great fame in Orthodox iconography. He uses traditional techniques and style, choosing to paint in the difficult medium of egg tempera on specially prepared board or wood. As well as painting in the traditional religious icon genre, he has also chosen to paint large works in the same style but of secular, mythological and folk themes. He is very prolific, all the more amazing given the large canvases he paints and his meticulous work with the difficult medium he uses.

George Kordis was born in Greece in Makryracchi of Phthiotis in1956, and grew up in Athens. He studied theology in the Theological School of the University of Athens and concurrently studied Byzantine iconography under the tutelage of Cypriot hagiographer Symeon Symeou. He obtained a Master of Theology at the Holy Cross Seminary in Boston and also studied art at the School of Art of the Boston Museum.

When he returned to Athens he continued his art studies in painting and engraving under Fotis Mastichiadis. He has become an expert in theology and the aesthetics of Byzantine painting. In 1991 he obtained a Doctorate of Theology and since 2003 he is a lecturer in the Theological School of the University of Athens. His painting style owes much to the Byzantine tradition. He uses examples of Byzantine lay painting to set the stage for his subjects, which are often indebted to the West for their iconographic references and technique.

He has exhibited his work widely, in more than 25 personal exhibitions and even more collective ones. His works are in many public and private collections. As a hagiographer, he has an intimate knowledge of the past Byzantine riches of the icon, but he does not simply copy old works, he creates his own personal style, which although is traditional and builds on solid historical foundations, is fresh and startlingly original. He has painted many icons, but also has created the mural decorations of many churches in both Greece and abroad.

The painting above is his “Night” of 1995. The style is byzantine, but the subject matter is reminiscent of an ancient Greek myth, while the setting seems to be modern. It this juxtaposition of anachronistic elements that adds interest to the painting and despite the disparate components, it is a unified, satisfying whole.

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