Thodoris Archontopoulos, Byzantine Archaeologist and Art Historian

Newberry, Thodoris Archontopoulos, 1998, acrylic on panel, 10x8"
Newberry, Thodoris Archontopoulos, 1998 (unfinished), acrylic on panel, 10×8″

I met Thodoris in the Fall of 1994 in Rhodes, Greece. Incredibly smart, both an archaeologist and an art historian with a perfectionist integrity for styles, dates, and research in art. It was a huge honor that he made a presentation and wrote the review for my 1996 show at To Dentro, in Rhodes, Greece. The review was published in the Greek newspaper the Rodiaki. The show was about the creative process for large definitive works that were then works in progress. A few years later, the same show but with the completed definitive works became an international traveling exhibition “Visions” 1998 November-Athens College, Athens, Greece; August-Ministry of Greek Culture, Rhodes, Greece; July-institute for Objectivist Studies, Summer Seminar, Boulder, Colorado.

In 1994 I was exhausted and tired of struggling for art survival in Los Angeles, the last straw was when I drew a pastel landscape and the sky had the color of smog pollution! Rhodes, by contrast, had the brightest, purist light and colors that I had ever seen, and it felt like my artist soul’s home. While visiting there I met Thodoris, and then I decided to move my studio to Greece! There are three things that feed my inspiration: beautiful settings; smart people; and human sensuality in being, in food, and style. Though it might have seemed like a major move it felt effortless and it was a huge trade up.

In Rhodes I finished several major works, and created Icarus Landing, hundreds of wonderful pastel drawings, explored plein air painting, and began important works Venus, Artemis, and Lovers Jumping. Throughout all of this it was great to share my creative exploits with Thodoris. For an artist there is no substitute for a knowledgeable, perceptive, and sensitive supporter. I still haven’t fully digested it but Thodoris passed away in 2004. I drew this drawing below to mourn his death.

It is what it is, it is hard to come away with lessons learned. It was such a shame as he was was heading towards being one of the great Byzantium curators. He also had a very modern stylish, beautiful way of conceiving the visuals for displaying artifacts. A big loss to the aesthetic community of Athens. And a big loss for me.

Newberry, Mourn, 2004, charcoal on Rives BFK, 25x18"
Newberry, Mourn, 2004, charcoal on Rives BFK, 25×18″
Thodoris Archontopoulos, Byzantine Archaeologist and Art Historian
Thodoris Archontopoulos, Byzantine Archaeologist and Art Historian

Theodoris Archontopoulos was born in 1959 in Nice, Attica, where he grew up. He studied French Literature at the University of Athens (1977-1981). In Paris he completed his university and postgraduate studies (Maitrise and Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies) at the University of Paris 1- Pantheon – Sorbonne in the field of Byzantine history and archaeology. He worked in Rhodes and the 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities. He taught Byzantine Archaeology and Art History at the Guide School of Rhodes. He was a member of the Christian Archaeological Society. In 2003 he was awarded a doctorate in the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens with the degree of Excellence. Author of the Archaeological Guide of Lindos.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 2/19/2020

4 Replies to “Thodoris Archontopoulos, Byzantine Archaeologist and Art Historian”

  1. I really enjoyed this article! Being a Greek archaeologist myself, I found it very interesting reading about your show in Rhodes and Archontopoulos, who seems like a well educated and inspiring person. Your drawing of him is very moving!

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