Female figure with headscarf
1973 | charcoal and crayon on hardboard, varnish
76 x 56 cm

The subject of the female figure is an integral part of Gounaropoulos’s creative world. From his oil paintings to his works in charcoal and pastels, even when their subject is not his airy ‘oceanids’ or ‘caryatids’, we can discern female bodies, hands, thighs, faces. The female presence in his work seems to be linked to the primitive worship of the Great Mother-Goddess (Mother Earth), when she was revered in all her natural manifestations.

Many of his paintings portray the female form as airy and idealized, rising through the shrouds of a watery mystic atmosphere: fairies, mermaids, and nymphs, subjects associated with the childhood experiences of a boy growing up by the sea, and images rooted in the sphere of the imagination and the subconscious. These images are linked to the creative liberation that Gounaropoulos must have experienced through his contact with surrealism, and they express a delicate eroticism.

Gounaropoulos’s female figures have inspired poets, such as Andreas Embiricos and Giorgos Pavlatos.