The Russian who painted Greece
At the turn of the 20th century, after the October Revolution, a wave of mass emigration of Russians swept Europe, influencing significantly the continent’s cultural landscape.
Capitals such as Paris acquired a sizable community of Russian expatriates, reaching 175,000 members by 1930. Some Russian émigrés followed a path towards the south, reaching Greece, usually via Istanbul.
Each of them had a different story to tell and some even acted as inspiration to contemporary Greek writers who enriched their literature with fictional characters based on White Russian Army officers, intellectuals and vagabonds.
Michael Marzouvanov was a Russian painter who arrived in Greece in 1922. His original destination was Paris, but once he set foot on Greece, he decided to settle to the country permanently.
Born in Crimea in 1889, he studied in St. Petersburg and by the time he reached Greece, he was 33 years old. Trying to fit in, Marzouvanov changed his name to Marzouvanis (Greek ending) and started to paint his subjects 'under the blinding Greek light, when the olive trees hide behind their grey-green light'.
Marzouvanis passed away 50 years ago, but his daughters (left photo) wanted to pay tribute to their father by organizing an exhibition at the Folklore Museum of Aegina, chosen especially for its luminous landscapes. The exhibition is titled Michalis Marzouvanis: The Russian and runs through October 17.
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