Yiannis Vitogiannis was born in Tripolis, Greece in 1965. He showed a talent for drawing in Primary School and when he was twelve years old he became interested in Byzantine Art. In 1978 his family arranged for him to study with Nicholas Bissas, a well known iconographer who specialized in the Cretan School.
Mr. Vitogiannis spent his summers and weekends assisting Bissas as the master restored countless churches throughout Greece. During that time he painted classic icons on wood and also learned to paint frescoes.
After serving in the military in Greece, he entered the Athens School of Fine Arts where he remained for two years. Vitogiannis then went on to study and work with Chimis Spirithon, a master in the Macedonian School of Iconography. He also worked in the restoration department of the prestigious Byzantine Museum in Athens, Greece.
Mr. Vitogiannis continued to accept commissions from individual clients and churches for new works and also restoration of ancient icons. He has had several one-man shows in Greece as well as in America. Vitogiannis has also executed commissions for Saint Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles; considered the most beautiful church in the western hemisphere.
An explanation of the art form by Mr. Vitogiannis is as follows: "Icons are the traditional art form of the early church. During the early years of the Christian church, a new art form was created to help reveal this new faith to the world. The artist's goal in painting an icon is to express the view of the world held by the church - God's interaction with man, man's calling to be a new creation, the breath and the look of holiness. An icon at its very root is a portrayal of Christ's image and imprint on the world, thus, helping us better understand who God is and what he is like."
Increasingly, contemporary collectors are recognizing the beauty and power of these religious works. Collectors of all denominations prize these beautiful and unique symbols of man's faith in the eternal.
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