Isternia, Tinos 1830 – 1880
Isternia, Tinos 1831 – Athens 1909
Two out of five brothers, descendants of a great family of artists, they enrolled in the School of Arts in 1846 and studied sculpture with Christian Siegel. While still students, they worked together, producing works in various parts of Greece. In 1856, they participated in the Kontostavleios competition and shared the first award of one thousand drachmas for their work “Shepherd carrying a kid”. In 1858, they established their own studio, which became a true school for many of the sculptors of the younger generation.
Georgios Fytalis graduated from the School of Arts in 1857. During the same year, he participated once again in the Kontostavleios competition, earning a prize of one thousand drachmas. The following year, he was appointed professor at the School of Arts, a post he served until 1868, when he was replaced by Leonidas Drossis. In 1860, he was nominated member of the Greek Archaeological Society. He had a close association with Lyssandros Kaftantzoglou; alone, or in cooperation with his brother Lazaros, he produced many of Kaftantzoglou’s sculptural designs.
Lazaros Fytalis graduated from the School of Arts in 1851 and a few years later went to Paris, where he worked with the French sculptor Charles Cordier. In 1857, he participated in the international competition for the Wellington memorial to be built in London. In 1879, he participated in the excavation that brought to light the Lion monument at Chaironeia and subsequently submitted a plan for its restoration, which was not adopted. During 1902-1904, though, on Lazaros Sochos’s initiative, Lazaros Fytalis did participate in the restoration of the monument; in 1884, he was assigned with the conservation of the Kerameikos Bull.
The joint exhibition activity of the Fytalis brothers includes contributions to group exhibitions in Greece and international ones. Their works were shown at the London International Exhibitions in 1851 and 1862, in the 1855 and 1857 Paris International Exhibition (Lazaros’s only) as well as in the Olympia exhibitions in Athens in 1859, when they received a prize, and 1870, when they received an honorary distinction for their work as marble importers.
With their studies at the School of Arts and their familiarity with European sculpture, the Fytalis brothers had at their disposal a wide array of models from which to draw from and create compositions on mythological, allegorical and genre themes, funerary monuments, statues and busts. The works emanating from their studio are characterized by their commitment to the neoclassicist ideals, their idealistic and idealized expression as well as their adoption of realistic elements. The latter are more frequent in Georgios Fytalis’s compositions, also distinguished for their plasticity, the equilibrium of forms and the overall absence of any cold neoclassicism; in Lazaros’s work, however, idealistic features and a precise draftsmanship prevail.