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AHMAKIS, Vangelis Pappas

Theofilos was born in 1867 in Varia, today a suburb of Mytilini. As a child he had a weak posture and a "kousuri", he was left-handed. Parents and teachers tried every day to make him write with his right hand. Thus, Theophilos closed in on himself. He didn't play with the other kids. He found solace in painting. He would go down to the basement of his house, which was used as a warehouse, and paint constantly, for endless hours. At school, he filled his notebooks with drawings of boats and mermaids. He stopped school in the 3rd grade. His father sent him to become a shoemaker, but Theophilos did not agree and ran away from the shoemaker's shop.

In Mytilene, people mocked him for his shirt and even went so far as to shake hands. Theophilos could not tolerate this inhuman behavior. He escaped from his father's house and went to Smyrna. There he ran errands at the Greek Consulate, where he worked as a doorman. After Smyrna, Theophilos moved to Makrinitsa in Pelion and Volos.

In 1912, he met Yannis Kontos and his wife, Aspasia, at a festival, who hosted him in their home. Kontos was a miller and landowner. For pleasure, Theophilos painted his most beautiful works on the walls of their mansion. Kontos used to say about Theofilos: "He, my child, was crazy in mind and wise in hands."

In 1927, climbing a wooden ladder, Theofilos was painting the facade of a shop. Someone for fun pulled the ladder for him and Theophilos fell to the ground. He took a serious beating and walked away from the store. Then he realized that he had to leave Volos. In the same year, he returned to his native country.

In his village, his relatives did not appreciate him, because he had the thought of returning as he left, after thirty years. He had not become great, but an oil painter. But there was his mother – a person who would care about his health – but also his siblings. His brothers were comfortable with the practical professions.

On Lesvos, he painted houses and shops every day for a plate of food. The whole island was filled with his paintings. At the end of his life, he lived in a small house. A mattress, a cupboard, a couple of drawers.

In 1928, the painter Giorgos Gounaropoulos was in Volos. He saw murals of Theophilos in a grocery store. He also photographed them in Paris, where he lived, and showed them to Stratis Eleftheriadis. Eleftheriadis arrived in Mytilene a year later and bought works by Theophilos. He also undertook the promotion of the painter.

Theofilos dies on March 24, 1934. His sister describes in her memories: "The Blessed One was intelligent and knowledgeable, and he was called a "fool" and a "fool". The villagers who didn't know him and he's hungry already sold him."

In Vangelis Pappa's novel, Theophilos takes flesh and blood from the author's pen. The author's study and his deeper engagement with painting make him penetrate the world of Theophilos, erasing his character from his childhood to his chest. Every step of it is taken care of with knowledge about the life of Theophilos. Because he writes inspired by the belief in the uniqueness of the work of the painter Theofilos who, as he says, "never betrayed his little heart and that magical ray of childhood innocence". At the same time, he sympathizes with his hero and tries to illuminate his virtues.

"I, with my cheap mind, know one thing. I dedicated my entire life to painting, because it seems that it was my destiny to be born, otherwise something different could not have happened".

With careful strokes, he creates the portrait of Theophilos, in a way that creates an emotional charge. By learning the inner world of Theophilos, we become partakers of his art, which contains a deep Greekness and a love for art and the homeland. The work of Vangelis Pappa O ahmakis must be read by the readers, in order to travel through the life of the important work of Theofilos Hatzimikhail.


The idiot
Fictional biography of the Roman painter Theophilos
Vangelis Pappas