“The paintings of Andreas Charalambides are wonderfully intriguing. They are composed and executed with the skill of an Old Master yet they are unmistakeably modern. On the one hand they contain within themselves the calm serenity of Pompeian frescoes and on the other hand they are resonant with the golden beauty of early renaissance alterpeices, yet they are painted in the full knowledge of the revolutions in art that have occurred in the twentieth century. From these many and varied strands Charalambides has forged his own unique language, a language which is essentially that of an artist steeped in Mediterranean culture, both ancient and modern, and in particular the myths and legends of his native land. The timeless quality which informs them, is the heritage of classical antiquity.
Charalambides glories in colour and light. He uses colour to it’s full intensity, deep azure blue played off against saturated reds, colours whose intensity is heightened by the dark browns which serve to set them off. At times he bleaches out the colour, making us more aware of the form. Often, as we have seen, he uses gold to accentuate the preciousness of the painting as an object as if it were indeed an altarpeice.
The consummate art of Charalambides is to combine his Greek heritage with the elements of European modernism. The references to myth and legend are clear, whether spelt out or Merely suggested. THE AWAITING surely surely refers to Penelope, the patient wife of Ulysses, who waited twenty years for him to return from his wanderings. Orfeus is the named subject of a painting, but the animals which he is representing as charming with his music are a sinister duo if the black bird and a bull’s skull, and the philosophers or wise men behind him seem to have turned to stone, and his own face is like a mask. The skull puts one in mind of Picasso’s many references to the bull, and in particular his use of the skull as a symbol of grief and despair during the second World War. The ghost of Picasso’s blue period also seems to be present in some of the paintings, and the heads of Charalambides women have an affinity with those of Modigliani in their calm classicism and ritualised lack of expression. Moreover the slight attenuation of the figures may owe a debt to El Greco as well as to Modigliani.
All these artists are men if the Mediterranean and their common culture is the thread which binds them together. Charalambides has fused and blended the influence of the past with his own vision to be at once a traditional painter and a modern innovator.”
Mary Rose Beaumont