Yannis Stavrou

Curriculum Vitae

Yannis Stavrou (Greece, 1948 — ) is a contemporary Greek artist, painter.
Yannis Stavrou (Γιάννης Σταύρου in Greek) was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He originally studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts before painting won him over. He currently lives and works in Athens.
He has done thirty one solo shows and participates in group exhibitions. His landscapes and seascapes are not classical in style as the sea is just a motive for his colour palette while the shapes of his ships are more conceptual and impressionist than figurative.
After a quite long period of involvement in a form of "modern academism" he is now going through a new stage, in which the form becomes more abstract, but the method of painting and the technique of paint and brush follow strictly the old classic methods.
To the brush intervenes the knife in numerous layers of colour; in contradiction to the mat effect in his older work, his recent paintings are glistening - this enhances strongly the richness and the real texture of the oil colour (oil painting).
Art criticism
The art historian, critic Manos Stefanidis wrote about Yannis Stavrou’s work in 2006 (excerpt from the essay under the title "Glass Eyes, Resurrected Gazes - On Yannis Stavrou's Paintings" by Manos Stefanidis):
“I see his paintings as a challenge for an inner voyage, an opportunity for a resurrection of the gaze - a prolongation of real life. His compositions are structured around two opposite poles: tenderness and a sturdy rhythm; a sense for detail and understanding of the whole; a kind of sentimental escape to mirthful images, as Kosmas Politis would put it, and a preoccupation with form, represented in an unadorned and solid fashion. His paintings keep alive the memory of those places he fell in love with in the past or create novel seas for new journeys. Here plasticity is achieved via abstractive processes, and elsewhere a tiny light - one catalytic brushstroke - unveils a well-hidden secret. His heavy blues are electrified with orange iridescences and his reds never leave his blacks or dark greens unaccompanied.”
Dr Manos Biris, Professor of the Architecture History in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), wrote about Yannis Stavrou in 2000 (excerpt from the introduction to Yannis Stavrou's catalog under the title "Greece in Colours", 2000):
"Yannis Stavrou is a painter who touches upon the city's metaphysical tissue. An offspring himself of the lucky generation, which witnessed the historical heart-rending moments of Greek urban centers, and more closely so in his city of Thessaloniki, he takes us by the hand, striding with confident strokes back to our legendary childhood evoked by his images; deep down into the bottomless hollow of Thermaikos harbour, where the massive metal shapes of ships are hovering all aloof, emerging through the midst of cracking-dawn's fog."


Yannis Stavrou was born in Thessaloniki,Greece, in 1948. He originally studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts before painting won him over. He currently lives and works in Athens.  
He has organized twenty four solo shows and participated in many group exhibitions.  His works are part of both public and private collections.

" If I have to characterize my work I would describe it as contemporary figurative art expressed through neo-impressionist forms and colours. My favourite subject is the cityscape, the urban landscape; cities, ports, ships are often presented in my oil paintings. On the other hand, I am always attracted to sculpture as I originally started my fine arts studies in sculpture.
My hometown has left its indelible mark in my painting. Thessaloniki’s northern colours, its fog, its cosmopolitan architecture and finally its harbour and people set the foundations of my artistic horizon.
There’s a central theme-title underlining my work: Greece in colours. Cities, streets, people, sea depictions, everything I love and miss. Emotional tension finds an outlet in the process of creation. People and historical events live inside me as shapes and colours. Colour is central to my painting. Life is the epitome of the universe.  Through painting I try to stay close to those things I like but I can’t own. The human vanity of the process of selection. This mysterious repetition of nothingness that torments us. Things which often hurt us but we insist on desiring and loving in a unique way."

Solo Exhibitions

 1978, "MEDUSA", Athens
1979, "WORKSHOP", Larissa
1980, "MEDUSA", Athens
1985, "EPOCHES", Kifissia - Athens
1987, "EPOCHES", Kifissia - Athens
1995, " IMAGE" - Sculpture, Athens
1996, Hydra's Town Hall
1996, "MONOHORO" , Athens
1996, Bank of Greece , Athens
1997, " AL ANDAR" - Latin America 's Institute of    Culture ,  Athens
1997, Hydra’s Town Hall
1998, "IANOS"- Exhibition of Paintings made for Harry Klynn's poetic collection "City", Thessaloniki
1998, Hydra’s Town Hall
1998, "IANOS", Thessaloniki
1999, " IMAGE" , Athens
1999, Hydra’s Town Hall
2000, "KIVOTOS", Hydra
2000, "IANOS", Thessaloniki
2001, "STOA TOU VIVLIOU",  Athens    
2001, "KIVOTOS", Hydra
2002, "IANOS", Thessaloniki
2002, " Piraeus Marine Club", Piraeus
2002, "KIVOTOS", Hydra
2003, "KIVOTOS", Hydra