He studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1870-1876) under Nikephoros Lytras. In 1877, having won the competition the School had announced for study in Europe, he enrolled in the Munich Academy where he took lessons, until 1883, under Ludwig von Lofftz, Wilhelm Lindenschmidt and Gabriel von Max. He remained in Munich until the close of the century, became involved in the artistic life of the city and established himself. Having already presented his works in exhibitions at the Kunstverein and Glaspalast, in 1884 he became a full member of the Kunstlergenossenschaft, and was three times appointed a member of the critical committee for its exhibitions (1889, 1892, 1895). In addition to Germany, where he was distinguished in many exhibitions, he also had an important presence in exhibitions organized in Athens, and the International Exhibitions of Paris (1878, 1889 – bronze medal, 1900 – gold medal). In 1900, at the invitation of the Greek government, he returned to Greece and took over the direction of the newly constituted National Gallery, a position he occupied until 1918. In 1904 he succeeded his teacher Lytras to the Chair of Painting of the School of Fine Arts where he taught until 1930, serving as Director of the School from 1910. In 1914 he was awarded the Prize in Arts and Letters and in 1926 elected a member of the Athens Academy. In 2005 the National Gallery of Athens organized a retrospective exhibition of his work.
He is considered to be one of the supreme representatives of academic painting in Greece, despite some conflicting aspects of his visual creation, not to mention his broader field of action. The subject matter to be found in his work includes mythological and genre scenes, portraits, landscapes and still lifes. During his residence in Munich, a period to which can be traced the influences of German impressionism on his work specially in regard to the rendering of light and color, he showed particular interest in genre painting, scenes from childhood, as well as the depiction of figures in the countryside. Upon his return to Greece he turned primarily to the execution of official portraits, still lifes and flower paintings.