Artist/Maker: Kostas Kampouropoulos (1939-2018)
Object/Materials and Techniques: Oil on canvas
Date: Painted between 2007-2016
Dimensions: H. 130 cm. x W. 100 cm.
Art style: Portraiture/Romantic elements with surrealistic expressionistic structures/Abstract art
Current Location: Private collection
Curator’s note: A group portrait of selected key characters from Giuseppe Verdi’s four-act opera, Aida, a music theatre piece that holds a central place in the operatic canon. Set in Ancient Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs, it was one of the painter’s favourite operas that greatly inspired his work, especially since he participated, as a soloist, at its performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, the summer of 1965, held by the Hellenic National Opera.
Clockwise: Ramfis in white clothes, the High Priest of the Egyptian Kingdom, Princess Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter, Radamès, the Egyptian military commander, Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia, and, finally, Aida, the beautiful Nubian princess who has been captured and enslaved by the Egyptians; a noticeable revival of the famous Nile Scene seems to be taking place in front of the spectators. More specifically, it is at the end of the Scene when Radamès realizes that, due to bad conjuncture, he has been considered as traitor of his homeland and so he exclaims ‘Priest, I give myself in to you’.
The emphasis on movement, gestures and colour creates a sense of live opera performance, with the portrayed characters being in an emotional connection with the ‘audience’.
In this painting the viewer also experiences one of the main characteristic features of the painter’s work: the technique of fuzzy outline and the absence of crisp lines, a practice widely used in Romanticism -the movement of which the painter is influenced the most throughout his career- adapted in a very personal and modern edition. In addition, his intension of demonstrating the clothing of that particular era and the theatrical costumes of the opera act, constitutes another interesting element of this, overall, magnetizing composition.