Sochos Lazaros (1857/1862 - 1911)
Dimitrios Vikelas, 1892
He first studied at the drawing school of a Frenchman called Guillement in Constantinople. Then, with the help of the Zarifis family, he studied at the Athens School of Arts, sculpture with Leonidas Drossis and painting with Nikiforos Lytras. In 1881, with the financial support of Therese Zarifis, he went to Paris, where he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux Arts and worked with the sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercie. In 1897, he fought in the Greek-Turkish War in a volunteer corps. In 1901, he returned to Greece in order to erect the statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis in Nafplio, the model for which he had prepared at Mercie’s workshop, in 1891-1895. The work was shown in the 1900 Paris International Exhibition, where it won the gold medal; it was also awarded by the Academy of Rome. In 1904, a second copy was set up in Athens. In 1908, Sochos was appointed professor of sculpture at the School of Arts. He collaborated with the Archaeological Agency and participated in the restoration of the Lion monument at Chaeronea and the reconstruction of the Olympia sculptures. He was founding member of the Society of Greek Artists and member of several art committees.
His work was presented at the 1888 Olympia exhibition in Athens, the 1900 Paris International Exhibition, the exhibitions of the Society of Greek Artists (1907-1910) and the Rome International Exhibition (1911).
Lazaros Sochos lived during a period of transition for Modern Greek sculpture, when neoclassicist ideals coexisted with a shift towards realism and the plastic ideas mainly emerging in Paris and Rodin’s work. His style was shaped by influences received during his apprenticeship with Drossis and his sojourn in the French capital, where he was mainly associated with sculptors representing academic sculpture, and thus never shedding his neoclassicist background. Believing that sculpture is an art of educational and moral purport and that Modern Greece could be revitalised through its classical past, he operated in the context of neoclassicism and idealism. In his works – mainly busts, monuments, reliefs and medals – a heroified figure prevails, reflecting his idealistic views, which informed both his creative career and his life.
Dimitrios Vikelas, 1892
Bust of a Clergyman (probably Theophilos Kairis), 1889