nude by Yiannis Moralis
3 min

Geometry Meets Shunga: Sensual Abstractionism of the Greek Artist Yiannis Moralis

3 min

Yiannis Moralis (not to be confused with Yiannis Nomikos, whose painted eggs we've examined in one of our previous articles) was a prominent Greek painter and printmaker who worked both in figurative and abstract styles. Due to its diversity, his art may catch the eye of an avant-garde lover just as an avant-garde hater. Our attention was primarily drawn to his abstract erotic compositions of the 1950s that provide an amusing  contrast to what is usually expected of erotic art.

 Self-portrait Yiannis Moralis with the first wife

Fig. 1. Self-portrait with the first wife, 1943 (

  nude by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 2. Nude, 1950 (

 standing nude by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 3. Standing nude (

 reclining nude by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 4. Reclining nude (

girl sleeping by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 5. Girl sleeping (

 seated nude by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 6. Seated nude (

A Winning-Award Printmaker

Yiannis Moralis (1916-2009) originated from a family of the headmaster of the Gymnasium in Preveza (Northwestern Greece). When the family moved to Athens, ten-year-old Moralis decided to become a painter and, supported by his father, started attending Sunday classes at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Five years later, he enrolled in the Preparatory class after passing the entrance examination. In 1933, Moralis also began studying woodblock printing, which allowed him to participate in the Exhibition of Greek Engraving in Czechoslovakia three years later. There, he won a scholarship to study art abroad.

 Funerary composition I by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 7. Funerary composition I, 1962 (

 Funerary composition II by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 8. Funerary composition II, 1963 (

 Funerary composition III by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 9. Funerary composition III (

 Funerary composition IV by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 10. Funerary composition IV (

 Funerary composition V by Yiannis Moralis

Fig. 11. Funerary composition V (

Life is Short, Yet Art is First

Three months after his father's death in March 1937, Moralis moved to Rome and then to Paris, where he stayed until the outbreak of WWI, having enrolled at the École Supérieur des Beaux-Arts. At the beginning of the war, Moralis returned to Athens and managed to exhibit a series of engravings in Piraeus, joining the Free Artists Group. Even recruited for military service, Moralis succeeded in submitting a number of works (portraits, studies, and nudes) to the last pre-war Panhellenic Exhibition at the Zappeion. During the Nazi occupation, the artist earned a living as a portrait painter, yet didn't stop evolving artistically. In 1945, he became an elected Professor of the Preparatory class at the Athens School of Fine Arts, which he first entranced as a young beginner thirty years ago.

Ten colored drawings for the poems of George Seferis

Fig. 12. Ten colored drawings for the poems of George Seferis, 1965 (

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Click HERE for the adult Easter art of Greek painter Yiannis Nomikos