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The Lottery-ticket Seller was painted in a very sentimental mood. It's the same mood that gets us when we look at the other side of the moon, the dark side; when we look in the mirror of our soul and see our flaws and faults, our weaknesses, our inabilities and insecurities. And, if bad luck place is us next to a sublime goddess, forcing us thus to compare ourselves to her, it's quite sure that we can hardly escape depression and inferiority complex.
Fact is that today, I would show modern Greece personified as an invalid, but nevertheless, not as a sweet young girl selling lottery-tickets. In the middle of the 70s (the time of the political changeover) though, I couldn't paint it differently. It was a period during which I was discovering modern Greek history by myself in the volumes of the Central Public Library of Stockholm. I must make clear to the younger readers that the modern Greek history that was taught in school in my time, was ending with the Balkan wars...
So, mutilated by wars and its calamities, rent by civil war, beaten up by treasons, frame-ups, dictatorships and intrigues, my little dark haired girl with the sweet, childish face went out in the world to survive selling lottery-tickets. Only, she put them up on a mast that was Athena's own spear. The thinking goddess looked sharply at the little girl but didn't say a word. She understood.
In this work, I emphasized on harmony in order to allow the two figures to coexist despite their numerous and extreme differences. That was the reason for the geometrical background of a wall with vertical and horizontal stripes and for the joints on the pavement, that create a grid of harmonious proportions.
In addition, the pavement, despite its supporting role in matters of general harmony, renders depth to an image arranged rather head-on.
The whole scenery and especially the pose of the young invalid girl is deliberately staged, in order to remind us of tourists posing in front of ancient monuments in order to have their pictures taken by wandering photographers.
The tilt of the bodies and Athena's spear create contradictions to the severe canvas of vertical and horizontal lines that are necessary in order to brake the stillness of the image. For the same reason it was necessary to repeat some elements in a rhythmic succession such as the pavement stones, the creases in Athena's robe and the lottery-tickets.
The goddess's cool, blue – grey and neutral colours accommodate the warm colours of the surrounding environment. The latter are spread over the whole painting and thus over the marbled Athena, trying to blow some life in her. All colours peak in a fiery red tone.
May 7th, 2013
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