First Steps by Georgios Iakovidis

Georgios Iakovidis, 1853-1932
First Steps, 1889, Oil on Canvas, 64×50 cm, Averoff Museum of Neo-Hellenic Art, Metsovo, Greece

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and is celebrated on the 20th of November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. …Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals, as well as young people and children themselves, can play an important part in making World Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations. …World Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children. This is how the United Nations describes this important Celebratory Day… First Steps by Georgios Iakovidis will be my humble contribution.

Iakovidis’s Painting of a Child taking his First Steps in the Averoff Gallery is one of my all times favourite 19th-century Greek Paintings. It touches me in a very personal way. It reminds me of my father’s love and unconditional devotion to my son, his Grandson… Του παιδιού μου το παιδί, δυο φορές παιδί (My child’s child, is twice my child), he used to say, and looked at him with unbelievable tenderness… First Steps, a circa 1889 painting executed in Germany where the artist resided at the time, is much admired, for the artist’s first, tentative steps towards aspects of luminosity in art… and much loved for the sentimentality of its theme.

Carl Teufel, 1845-1912
Gerorgios Jakobides in his studio in Munich, 1883, Photograph, Collection: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Marburg, Germany

Georgios Iakovidis painted the theme of a child taking his/her First Steps twice. The oldest painting (1889), part of the Averoff Collection at Metsovo, portrays a grandfather assisting an enthusiastic child walk towards the open arms of a seated, equally enthusiastic sister. The second painting (1892) at the National Gallery in Athens, favors a grandmother as the child’s First Steps assistant. Both paintings were created while the artist resided in Munich… both paintings have similarly structured compositions… yet, the Averoff painting shows changes in the way the artist is rendering light and colour. According to the Averoff Gallery experts… The light that permeates the room is diffused throughout the space, giving a special glow to the places where it falls – the baby, the girl’s head, and hands – and deleting the contours. On the other hand, the chiaroscuro precisely models the details of the faces, the clothing, and the furniture. It is interesting how these first, timidly attempted changes, led the artist into a freer, more luminous painting style, connecting him to the most progressive painters in Germany – the so-called German Impressionists.

A Video (in Greek) on Georgios Iakovidis’s life and artistic achievements…

For a PowerPoint on Paintings of Children by Georgios Iakovidis, please… Check HERE!

Georgios Iakovidis, 1853-1932
First Steps, 1892. Oil on canvas, 140×110 cm, National Gallery, E. Koutlidis Foundation Collection, Athens, Greece
First Steps, 1889, Oil on Canvas, 64×50 cm, Averoff Museum of Neo-Hellenic Art, Metsovo, Greece

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