Gyzis Nikolaos (1842-1901)
“Let us hope and pray that we are joyful.”
- One of Greece’s most prominent 19th century painters and a major representative of the School of Munich and its academic realism, Gyzis’ first genre painting was called Eros and the Painter, and was last exhibited in Greece in 1928. During his stint in Munich, he was praised for how well he learned the lessons of the school, earning the nickname “the most German of the Germans”. In his later years, the painter expressed an actually impressionist bent, while his most obscure works (charcoal & chalk especially) go towards an entirely different (expressionist) direction.
- The artist himself lived in Munich from early on, immersing himself in local life; he met his colleague and lifelong friend Lytras there, and as of 1886 came to teach at the Munich Academy of Fine Art, with students such as Oppler, May-Rychter and Popescu. He returned to Greece in the early 1870s, and at this point produced works with distinctly “Greek” themes.
- His works are exhibited in museums in Greece, Germany and beyond, but his most famous piece is no doubt “The Secret School”, which was pictured on the greek 200 drachmas banknote and has thus become a feature of Greece’s identitary landscape.
- His works are today exhibited at museums and private collections in Greece, Germany and elsewhere.