A doctor who cures painting

Yannis C. Rentzos was born in Preveza, Greece, but moved to Athens with his family where he studied to become a doctor.

He specialized as an anaesthetist and served as a director at the university clinic of the Laiko Nosokomeio, as consultant at a state hospital in Coventry (NHS, UK) and in the National Health System in Greece.

He always had a special talent for freehand drawing and he never neglected this skill, as he later took up painting, nor did he ever view himself as a “hostage” to his relation with the existing natural, human and technical forms. His favourite painting material is oil paint.

He has taken part in painting group exhibitions in painting exhibitions of amateur doctor painters in Athens, as well as in Preveza. He currently resides in the UK with his wife where his son also lives and works.

In the hallway of the painter’s residence

Yannis Rentzos is particularly fond of the painting below. A hand presenting an apple. Perhaps this is where it all started. Good and bad…

The hand presenting the apple (The first attempt)

The Painter has especially practiced painting still lives. There have been plenty of opportunities for him to cultivate and expand his themes.

Still life with roses - 1

Still life with roses -2

Together with the still lives depicting flowers, still lives depicting fruit have been for Yannis Rentzos another pleasant method of improvement of his colour technique

Still life with pomegranates in a fruit bowl

Still life with apples, pomegranate and figs

Still live with a bottle of wine

City landscapes (“poleographies”) of various proportions and sizes were an important area of representation for Yannis Rentzos. Drawing the Athenian acropolis as well as many corners of Preveza, has been a perennial activity for him

Acropolis and Parthenon

This is what he says about the following Prevezan scene that follows: “I think that I did a truly great thing in depicting and capturing this part of Preveza. While painting this, I was reminiscing of my teacher Ilias Vasilas, the Prevezan philologist, and I was contemplating on whether I should spell the sign on the boat as ĐOËĹÉÔĹ or ĐŮËĹÉÔÁÉ which is the correct way."

Near the Prevezan port

The “Printing office in a cubistic projection” is another important piece of poleography for Yannis Rentzos.

“I did not want” he says “to compress the sign and window in their natural perspective. Nothing would have been visible then. Therefore, it occurred to me to make a cubistic restoration, just like the old cubists, and bring those objects vertically before the viewer. Have I achieved this? The viewer will be the one to judge me. I should do the same for Timoleon’s barber shop. Maybe another opportunity will arise in the future”.

Printing office in a cubistc projection

Ancient Athens was among Yannis Rentzos’ social and general interests from a very young age, and he often refers to the moments and times of the ancient Greek republic. It is no coincidence that the Athenian acropolis shown earlier is one of his largest paintings (72x74 cm).

The dawn of the day on which Socrates took his poison is an important concept for Yannis. He might not be sure of whether this is accurately depicted in his painting “In the philosopher’s cell”, but he is certain that, for him, the use of any brighter or lighter colours for this dark historic moment would just not have been suitable.

In the philosopher’s cell

Yannis Rentzos is currently in the process of drawing a preliminary sketch in order to depict the historic moment of Lord Byron’s arrival at the port of Preveza. He is closely studying figures, faces, clothing that might portray the people of Preveza at that time. Who would have been present at the substandard port of the town at the time? Would there have been any women present? Would any curious people have been present? He says:

" “I have been living in the UK for several years. I have been truly welcomed in this country. I really mean this. As a Prevezan I would like to return this favour. Why are we forgetting history? The moment of Lord Byron’s arrival in Greece, might be as important to our country as the Naval Battle of Action was to the whole world. The City Council of Preveza should remember this, even if it is just for touristic reasons."

Good luck with your work Yannis!.


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