"Mourning", 2004, charcoal on Rives BFK, 18 x 24"
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"Mourning", 2004, charcoal on Rives BFK, 18 x 24""Mourning", 2004, charcoal on Rives BFK, 18 x 24"
Newberry

A few weeks ago I got a chilling call from Greece informing me that a friend died, Thodoris Archontopoulos. Today I finished a drawing about that loss.

 

He was forty-six and one of the world's leading authorities on Byzantium art and archaeology. He reviewed one of my exhibitions. English was his 3rd language and yet he would have been my first choice to be the voice for an art documentary; sensuous, deep, and with a good natured arrogance that might have wondered at the listenerís aesthetic capacity.

 

He did not look like an ancient Greek sculpture but rather he looked like the son of the haunting faces we find on 2nd Century Egyptian Fayum funeral portraits of the Greeks. Monumental black eyebrows, a chiseled nose, deeply sighted eyes, and a dominating mouth that openly expressed a range of emotions from severe disgust to an innocentís glowing joy.

 

He was ruthlessly methodical in his science and clever in his guess work about Byzantiumís missing fragments. He conspicuously lacked the postmodern mentalityís brand of humbleness; he had that special attribute of integrity, knowledge, and dedicationóhe carried himself with pride.

 

He openly responded to all kinds of music but was simultaneously highly critical of performers who were stylistically inconsistent and he sharply honed his listening focus for anomalies created by sound engineers.

 

Though he dealt with the past he had the excitement of discovering new information. And when he curated exhibitions he did it with contemporary freshness.

 

It is a loss to the scholarly community as well as a profoundly personal one.

 

(Added by Newberry on 12/01/2004, 9:20am)

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