Lytras Nikiforos (1832-1904)

“The love of beauty is the bridge between Man and God”.

  • This artist was considered one of the greatest Greek painters of the 19th century, as well as one of the most important representatives of the Munich School. His contributions shaped the Greek artistic landscape, especially the “Greek renaissance” and the teaching of art in Greece.
  • His teachings especially are considered to have born rich fruit, since artists like Jacobides, Roilos and Bokos were nurtured by him. Although he himself was not seduced by new methods, such as those of impressionism, he was supportive of students moving in those directions. He even encouraged them to follow their own sensitivities. He was decorated with the Golden Cross of the Saviour in 1903.
  • Lytras was taught by a number of luminaries of his day, both in Athens and in Munich, where he was sent on a scholarship by king Otto of Greece. Thiersch, the Margaritis brothers, Ceccoli, von Piloty were his principal mentors. He met Gyzis in Münich, and they would remain lifelong friends and colleagues.
  • One of his six children, Nikolaos, also followed him as an artist, with his own rich repertoire of works.
  • Lytras felt a constant need to progress along his chosen path, and always tried to reach “perfection”. His warm heart and delicate sensibilities tempered what might otherwise have been an overly bourgeois outlook and concern for the historical continuity of Greece. He was also a highly sought-after portraitist, but for all his excellence in this field, it did not hold his heart.