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Spiro Cega, eminent painter of National Renaissance and Independence Period

Spiro Xega is an outstanding painter. He was born in Opar of Korca region in 1863. He was still a child when his family immigrated to Turkey. In Istanbul he learned the first elements of paintings as an iconographer. There he was acquainted with some Albanian patriots. Upon his return to Albania he continued his patriotic activity by also dedicating himself to painting, at which his principal theme was patriotic. He is the painter who produced the highest number of paintings dedicated to the National Hero, Scanderbeg.

More than ten portraits and compositions dedicated to him are known to exist. His workai??? Warriors of Shahin Matrakuai??? is one of the most beautiful and original painting s among the whole fine arts productions of Albanian Renaissance. He realized many portraits and landscapes as well. Generally a romantic spirit penetrates them. A preferred genre of the painter is composition. By observation of some famous work of romanticism and European expressionism of 1920ai??i??1925 he made some erotic and lyric paintings such as ai???Dancing of the nymphsai???, ai???Children and the angelai???, ai???The handsome boy and nymphsai??? and ai???Love Arrowai???.

A foreign critic of arts has compared his style with that of the French painter H. Roussso. Actually, his work was a result of the particular circumstances in which he lived and was inspired by the atmosphere of the time, when the struggle for the Albanian liberty was going on. Xegaai??i??s painting played an important role in strengthening the patriotic feeling and the national pride.

Counting about 137 paint works as portraits, compositions, tableau, quiet nature, created a real artistic ensemble which for a long time and now continues to affect the development of figurative arts and patriotic and artistic education of Albanian people. He used to expose his paintings in his private shop. Before the liberation of the country in 1944 he participated at three different exhibitions where he was much appreciated. In the year 1956 he opened an exhibition of all of his works in Tirana and his works were highly appraised.

His home had always been a home gallery and was visited by Albanians and foreigners (we can mention here the Russian producer Ilia Kopain and the artist Akaki Khorava, of the famous movie of SkAi??nderbeu, who depicted the figure of SkAi??nderbeu on the creativity of the painter Spiro Xega).

The painter Spiro Xega, left us a rich and unique legacy through his paintbrush. His artistic creativity has a variety of works such as graphics, oil, mural, icons. There are approximately 137 pieces of different genres which are part of our national art culture in museums and in Albanian families in and out Albania. His relatives in the USA got a number of his paints, which are of a great value.

We can say that the painting skills of Spiro still run in the blood of the Xega family. His nephew Ilia Xega has participated successfully in many regional exhibitions, his grand nephew Dhimitri Xega has continued also to inherit successfully the art of painting and is enriching even more the artistic treasure of the paintings in Xega Family.

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