Greek 20th-century art : Yiannis Moralis, RETROSPECTIVE at the Benaki Museum

Do you like modern and contemporary art? Then for sure Athens is the place to be. There are many options to see modern art in Athens, but for now we suggest to visit the Retrospective of Greek Artist Yannis Moralis, at the Benaki Museum in Athens, till February 10th 2019.


As we have mentioned in our monthly Newsletters, as well as various blog articles about Greek culture, Greece is not only a country where you can witness art, architecture and culture of 500 to 3000 years old, but also a country where you can see a lot of modern art, contemporary architecture, as well as visit museums covering the living artists or those numerous famous Greek names and talents of the 20th century.

Who was Yannis Moralis?

Yannis Moralis (1916-2009) was one of those very known Greek painters and one of Greece’s leading 20th-century artists.

Born at Arta (Epirus), Yiannis Moralis moved to Athens with his parents in 1927. From the age of 15 he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1931-1936). Ιn 1947 he was elected Professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he remained until 1983. For years he taught the younger generations of Greek painters. His own paintings belong in public and private collections in Greece and abroad.

In 1949 he formed, with other artists including Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Yannis Tsarouchis, Nikos Nikolaou, Nikos Engonopoulos and Panayiotis Tetsis, the “Armos” art group. This group had its first exhibition in 1950 in Athens.

From the 1970s, he moved from the realistic depictions of the human form of his earlier works towards more geometric and abstract paintings, for which he is most known with the general public.

However, Moralis was not only a painter and art professor but also a talented print-maker and sculptor. Over the years, Moralis was also involved with creating theatrical set and costume designs for the Greek National Theatre and Greek National Ballet; illustrating poetic works by Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis; making record covers for famous composers as Manos Hatzidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, etc…and decorating architectural works such as the façade of the Athens Hilton and the Athens Metro-Station “Panepistimiou (red line).

With the Benaki retrospective, you get a better idea of all those various art forms and you can see the artist’s progress, from one decade to another.

For those not able to visit the exhibit in Athens, we made a Facebook photo album for you. Click here to see photos taken of the exhibit.

Where the exposition takes place?

Benaki Museum – Pireos Street Annexe (Be careful to go to the correct building, since there are 4 Benaki museums, spread over centre Athens).
138 Pireos & Andronikou St.

Closest metro station: Keramikos (Blue Line)

Note: Even if you are not fond of museums and modern art, it is worth visiting the Benaki Museum with its contemporary architecture, as well as the café and museum shop.

If you are interested in more tips and museums in Athens, click here to read our article about “Athens Today”.