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Portrait of a Cretan Sailor, 1946, oil on board


Portrait of a Cretan Sailor

1946
Oil on board
Lent by the London Borough of Camden

In a bar on Poros, Craxton saw a young Cretan butcher, wearing naval uniform, dance a traditional zeibekiko. Midway through, he did a backwards somersault over the back of a chair and then continued to dance until the record finished. Later, in Oxford, Craxton saw a copy of the famous bull-leaping fresco from Knossos and was convinced that the acrobatic performance of the butcher was an extraordinary folk survival from the ancient past.