Artist/Maker: Kostas Kampouropoulos (1939-2018)
Object/Materials and Techniques: Oil on laminated wood
Date: Painted between 2007-2016
Dimensions: H. 50 cm. x W. 27 cm.
Art style: Romantic elements with surrealistic expressionistic structures/Abstract art
Current Location: Private collection
Curator’s note: Inspired by the Bible’s most significant recite about the Christmas Day, in this painting Kostas Kampouropoulos captured exquisitely the majesty of the season.
A famous episode of the Nativity of Jesus is depicted, formally known as the Annunciation or Appearing to the Shepherds, described in the Bible in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where a custody of Angels appears to a group of Shepherds and tells them about the birth of the Lord. Until today it consists a common subject of Christendom, including Christian art and Christmas carols.
Herein, through a relatively uncommon approach, the artist instead of placing the two groups, Angels and Shepherds, in conspicuous different sides, he chooses to merge them through his exceptional characteristic freedom to abstract the subjects. Therefore, he succeeds in interpretating powerfully the message that this biblical episode mainly reflects, regarding the peace promised to people/Shepherds on earth by the Angels; the peace as an inner status resulting from their reconciliation with the Messiah, ‘from Heaven’s all gracious King’. In the prospect of this joint faith and perpetual peace, Kostas Kampouropoulos brings into consonance Shepherds and Kings, perceiving all the Christians as an entity. Yet, at the same time, his composition seems to recall Virgin Mary’s words in the Magnificat: ‘He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.’ The fact that the divine message was given primarily to the Shepherds, who were located on the lower rungs of the social ladder, is generally considered the most semantic element, contrasting with the powerful characters of the time, such as the Emperor Augustus.
And above all is this Glory to the New-born Jesus, for delivering the annunciation of peace and good will on earth, that is glowing and goldens in the whole nocturnal scene. Capitalizing on the atmospheric effect of the bright God-gifted light, Kostas Kampouropoulos uses a masterful palette of gold. All are lit up by The Holy Spirit with the form of gilded Light, on the upper right side, seeking to strongly underscore the encounter with the Divine and convey ‘the reality of the unseen’.
Curator’s highlight detail: Despite the abstract structures of the composition, the viewer may detect a dog included among the Shepherds (down left) and furthermore the terrified faces of the Shepherd figures, due to the appearance of the Angels and the Glory of the Lord shone around them.