He studied from 1847 until 1855 at the School of Arts under Christian Siegel; on government scholarship in 1856 he went to Munich, where he studied under Max Widnmann until 1859. There, he met the Greek baron Simon Sinas, who financially supported him in order to continue his studies and later commissioned major works, such as the sculptural decoration of the Academy of Athens. In 1859, he enrolled in the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied with Ernst Hahnel. Then he travelled to Vienna, Paris and London, and ended up in Rome, where he established a studio with several assistants. In 1868, he accepted an invitation to teach at the School of Arts and within the same year returned to Greece. His creative career came to a premature end, as he died at the age of 48.
His exhibition activity includes important international exhibitions, such as the Paris International Exhibitions in 1867 and 1878, in the first of which he received the silver award, the 1873 Vienna International Exhibition, in which he was honoured with the arts medal, and the Athens Olympia exhibition in 1870.
His studies in Munich and Dresden, his travels in European cities and his stay in Rome, all brought him into direct contact with European neoclassicism, of which he became the most consistent Greek exponent, and provided him with a wealth of inspiring models. His subject matter includes allegorical and mythological themes, statues and busts. Already in the earliest compositions of his academic years, he proved his skill in the treatment of marble and fluency in the neoclassicist language. Smooth white surfaces, idealism and idealisation, stark outlines, clarity of articulation in individual parts and masterful folds, obsession with detail and an impeccable technique constitute the main characteristics of his sculpture. Yet, adherence to his models leads to a lack of life – a fact more often to be noticed in his mythology figures. His work and teaching influenced a great number of later sculptors.