Moralis Yannis (1916-2009)

Born 1916 in Arta. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens (1931-6) under Parthenis, Geraniotis, Argyros, and Kefallinos. Continued his studies, with a scholarship from the Athens Academy, in Rome (1936) and Paris (1937-9, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers). Took over the preparatory class in the Athens Academy of Fine Arts 1947, and was elected ordinary professor in the painting workshop 10 years later. Retired from this post 1983. Was a charter member of the Armos group.

Has held 9 solo exhibitions in Greece; the National Gallery mounted a retrospective exhibition of his work in 1988. Has taken part in a number of group exhibitions and international events, including: Panhellenic exhibitions (1940, 1948, 1952), Venice Biennale (1958, with Yannis Tsarouchis), Europalia (Brussels, 1982). Worked as a stage designer and costume designer with Rallou Manou's Greek Dance Theatre (1951-66), the National Theatre, and the Art Theatre. Has also decorated buildings (including the Athens Hilton, the Xenia Hotel in Florina, the Mont Parnes Hotel on Parnitha, and the Athens University underground railway station), sometimes in association with the potter Eleni Vernardaki (the Dionysos pavilion at Filopappou, the new City Hall in Athens), and has illustrated books by Elytis, Seferis, and Frantziskakis. Awarded the Order of Commander of the Phoenix (1965), the Arts Prize of the Athens Academy (1979), and the Gold Medal for Tapestry at the International Handicrafts Fair in Munich (1973).

The human, particularly female, form is the main subject of Moralis's work. The academic approach of his early career gave way in the '50s to more abstract formulations. In a quest for harmony and balance, in accordance with the fundamental spirit of classical antiquity, Moralis selected geometry as the ideal means of rendering space and the figures which inhabit it. Rhythm, order, a shunning of detail and description, and the simple palette which he gradually imposed in the course of an organic evolution underscore an archaic sense of grandeur and fullness.



  • I. Petropoulos, ‘Elytis, Moralis, Tsarouchis’, Athens 1966
  • Ο. Elytis, ‘My Cards to Sight’, Athens 1974, pp. 449-500
  • Lydakis 1976, pp. 263-264
  • Tsouchlou - Baharian, 1985, pp. 127-132, 267
  • D. Papastamos, ‘Yannis Moralis’, Athens 1988
  • Skaltsa 1990, pp. 130-131
  • ‘Parthenis - Ghikas- Moralis’, National Gallery, Kerkyra Island Annexe, Oct.-Dec. 1992
  • Chr. Christou, ‘Moralis’, Athens 1993
  • ‘Yannis Moralis. Etchings’, Athens 1993
  • Christou 1994, pp. 161, 252-253
  • Christou 1996, pp. 18, 21, 229-230
  • Macmillan 1996, vol. 22, p. 74
  • Chr. Christou, ‘Yannis Moralis’, Athens, Academy of Athens, 1996
  • ‘Moralis’, Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens 1997
  • Macedonian Museum, 1999, pp. 222-225
  • Dictionary, ‘Melissa’, vol. 3, 1999, pp. 146-152
  • Chantzinikolaou Chr., ‘Y. Moralis: Angels, Music, Poetry’, Athens, Benaki Museum, 2001
  • ‘Moralis’, Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens, March 2002
  • ‘Moralis: Extensions’, Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens, January 2004.

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