Yannis Moralis - Christos Kapralos: Friendship in Life and Art
15 September 2016

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), in collaboration with the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum, hosts the exhibition entitled “Yannis Moralis – Christos Kapralos. A friendship in life and art”, which will be hosted in the area of the Lighthouse, at the SNFCC. The exhibition is realized with the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), as part of the open events held daily at the SNFCC.

The exhibition opening will take place on Wednesday, September 21, at 8:00 PM, and will be open to the public. The President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos will honor the event with his presence.

The two artists met at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where their friendship was born and where they began developing their work. A selection of 18 bronze sculptures by Kapralos will be presented, alongside a small retrospective exhibition of Moralis’ work. A total of 50 masterpieces by Yannis Moralis from his substantial donation to the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum and private collections trace the artist’s evolution from his early works to the classical abstraction of his latest works.

The exhibition focuses on the work of these two great artists, as well as the relationship between them, which follows a parallel course. After Athens, the two artists met again in Paris, where they explored modernist movements, while remaining faithful to their classical values. In 1939, they returned to Greece, where they continued to pursue their dialogue with classicism throughout the German occupation. In the 1950s, the two artists developed their own personal version of modernism: Moralis his funerary paintings and Kapralos his bronze sculptures, produced with a new method: lost wax using gutta-percha plates. These sculptures would bring him international recognition at the Venice Biennale in 1962. The two artists—and neighbours on the island of Aegina—never ceased to strike a contemporary dialogue with Greek antiquity.

This unique exhibition coincides with the completion of 100 years since the birth of Yannis Moralis. 

Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, stated “This exhibition continues the collaboration between the SNF and the National Gallery of Greece that commenced last June with Greek Light and Colour in Tetsis’ Painting, a show of thirty-five paintings by Panayotis Tetsis. The partnership seeks not only to give the general public an opportunity to view works by seminal Modern Greek artists from the National Gallery’s permanent collection, at a time when its main building is closed during construction for a major expansion, but also to further expand on the conversation that started with Tetsis’ inaugural show at the SNFCC on the relationship and ever-evolving dialogue between painting, sculpture and architecture...The connection between painting and architecture in Moralis’ work, and Kapralos’ quest for movement and expression in his bronzes could point the viewer of the exhibition towards contemplating certain elements of Renzo Piano’s creative process in designing and building the SNFCC.”

Booklet on the exhibition Yannis Moralis – Christos Kapralos: A friendship in life and art


The exhibition will be open to the public from September 21st to December 18th (daily from 9 AM to 10 PM), with free admission.


Concept, Coordination, Texts: Marina Lambraki-Plaka,

Professor Emeritus History of Art, Director, National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum

Yannis Moralis Exhibition: Curator: Marina Lambraki-Plaka

Implementation: Annie Malama, Curator National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum

Christos Kapralos Exhibition: Curator: Artemis Zervou, Curator National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum


The basic body of Moralis’ works displayed belong to works the artist gifted in 1988 to the National Gallery. The latest decades of his work are represented through artworks belonging to the collection of the Onassis Foundation, the Sotiris Felios Collection (Foundation "The other Arcadia"), the collection of Alpha Bank as well as private collections. The works of Christos Kapralos belong to the National Gallery, following the dissolution of the Christos and Souli Kapralos Foundation in 2006. 

For detailed information regarding the exhibition and overall programming at the SNFCC, please visit www.SNFCC.org/events.

The open events, which will continue throughout the delivery to the Greek State, offer the opportunity to visitors to become acquainted with the project and its programmatic potential αnd aspire to make the SNFCC a destination for all. The events are offered free of charge and are realized with the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which is currently in charge of the SNFCC, until the delivery to the Greek State is completed. The events aim to highlight the potential of the project, to enhance the open dialogue with the general public and to offer ample opportunities to visitors to enjoy and discover the SNFCC a new, in hopes that the relationships built during its first steps will accompany the project to its future course when it will begin its official operation under the Greek State, who is the owner of the project.


Information about the exhibition:

•Exhibition venue: Lighthouse, SNFCC

•Exhibition duration: 21.09-18.12.2016

•Opening hours: Monday - Sunday 09:00 to 22:00

•Free admission


Information about the artists:


Yannis Moralis (1916-2009)

The year 2016 is the centenary of the birth of Yannis Moralis, who first set eyes upon his beloved “Ionian light” in Arta on 23-4-1916. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and in Paris. In 1947, merely 31 years old, he was appointed professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he taught for 36 years. His open-minded teaching introduced a new spirit to the School and helped many young artists find their personal métier. Many of the greatest contemporary Greek artists have been his pupils. 

Moralis is one of the last exponents of the Generation of the Thirties. The dialogue between modernism and tradition—the holy grail for artists of his generation—and “return to order”, the concurrent European trend of the interwar period, both encouraged the artist’s inherent penchant for classicism—a classicism in which the modernist experience is fully assimilated. In Moralis’ works, especially in his Funerary and Epithalamia series inspired by Antiquity, young women take centre stage. Their blooming youth is marked by a “blissful mourning”—a melancholy, contemplative mood, a presentiment of death. From the 1980s on, Moralis’ paintings became increasingly abstract, while the theme of love now prevailed, abolishing the theme of death, which, nevertheless, came looking for the artist on December 20, 2009. Moralis’ outstanding character, moral standing and body of work, his invaluable teaching at the Athens School of Fine Arts, his contribution to applied arts, have all left an indelible mark, not only on the history of contemporary Greek art, but on our lives.


Christos Kapralos (1909-1993)

Christos Kapralos was born in 1909 and spent his childhood in Panaitolio, a village near Agrinio. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and in Paris. When the war broke out in 1940, he returned to his native village, where he worked until 1946. The works made during the German occupation went on view at the Parnassos Literary Society in Athens in 1946 and established his reputation as a sculptor. On Aegina, where he regularly spent the summers since 1951, he carved The Pindos Memorial, a 1.10 x 40 m narrative frieze on peace and war. Today, this peerless monumental complex adorns the Hellenic Parliament peristyle. In 1957, Kapralos switched from clay and plaster to ancient metallurgy methods: hammered bronze and lost-wax casts. A discovery he made enabled him to develop an unmistakably original style: processing his figures directly on gutta-percha plates with a flame, he produced his own version of “humanity”, with strong memories of Antiquity, which earned him international recognition at the Venice Biennale, in 1962. 

The artist was now able to build the studio he dreamed of on Aegina and apply himself uninterruptedly to his art. It was there that he made, using the method of direct carving, a series of limestone and marble anthropomorphic objects and sculptures that revitalised the tradition of Cycladic figurines. These same works welcome visitors to the Kapralos Museum on Aegina, now a National Gallery Annexe after the Christos & Souli Kapralos Foundation’s transfer to the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum. Since 1965, using eucalyptus logs, the sculptor made some of the most outstanding monumental complexes in contemporary Greek art, including Parody of the Olympia Pediment and Crucifixion.  

The new Kapralos Museum is soon to be erected by the National Gallery adjacent to the artist’s old studio on Aegina to house the extensive donation of his works. One of the rooms will house art by the three Aegina-based artists and friends: Kapralos, Moralis and Nikolaou. 


Information for visitors

SNFCC Visitors Center

Tel: +30 216 8091001/002/003 

Email: visitorscenter@snfcc.org


Additional information about the SNFCC:

The summer hours of operation for the Stavros Niarchos Park will be from 06:00AM to midnight every day. The winter hours of operation will be from 06:00AM to 20:00PM.

In order to facilitate access to and from the SNFCC, free public transport will be offered to the public, with the use of a small, private shuttle bus. This service concerns all events, with the exception of daily tours. The bus, which bears on it the SNFCC logo, connects Syggrou – Fix metro station (starting point from Kallirois Avenue) with Evripidou street (beginning of the Esplanade) and vice versa. The bus routes take place 30’ prior to the commencement and 30’ after the end of each event, daily. In addition every Friday from 17:00 to midnight and every Saturday and Sunday from 06:00AM to midnight there will be shuttle buses departing every half hour from Syggrou – Fix metro station to the South Side of the Canal (close to the NLG building) and vice versa. The parking facilities, with a capacity of 1,000 car spaces, will operate without charge at this stage. At a later time, parking facilities will be available upon payment. Parking follows the SNFCC’s opening hours.

Currently, the SNFCC offers daily tours, which include a tour of the buildings that will host the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park. In order to best serve visitors, participation in the daily tours takes place via electronic subscription at the link available here  . Reservations begin 2 weeks prior to each event.

For the immediate convenience of visitors, canteens will operate temporarily in the outdoors areas of the SNFCC. At a later time, a restaurant and café will operate on a permanent basis. 

Free WiFi is available in all areas of the SNFCC. The network name is SNFCC-FREE-WIFI.

All areas of the SNFCC—including the parking area—are accessible to people with disabilities and wheelchairs, while golf carts are also available for the use of people with disabilities for their transfer inside the Stavros Niarchos Park.

The SNFCC aims to become one of the most significant cultural, educational and environmental hubs in Greece. It also aims to become the first LEED Platinum-certified public building in the country, and one of the first, for buildings of this complexity, in Europe and in the world. In addition, the Stavros Niarchos Park is one of the largest green spaces in Athens, doubling the green indicator per capita in the neighboring areas.

Based on the relevant Directive regarding the LEED Certification, smoking is prohibited in all indoors areas of the SNFCC, as well as within a distance of 7.5 m from all entrances. In all other open spaces of the SNFCC, smoking is not prohibited. However, respect for the environment and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle remain key values on which the SNFCC was conceived. In this context, we encourage visitors to enjoy the Park without smoking during their stay. If visitors wish to smoke, we kindly ask that they respect the space and use the floor ashtrays that have been placed in the area.