Thanassis Apartis was the first of several Greek sculptors to study under Antoine Bourdelle. The teachings of the latter and other descendents of Rodin and the simplicity of Archaic sculpture shaped Apartis’ style.
In 1921, while still a student, Apartis made the “Torso of a Portuguese Man” in a characteristic contrapposto pose, using a Portuguese aristocrat as his model. He worked on the piece for three months under Bourdelle’s close supervision and frequently productive interventions. In fact, Apartis himself considered it a milestone in his creative progress.
It should be noted, however, that Apartis did not render the “Torso of a Portuguese Man” with characteristic Archaic simplification that characterized his later work. The pulsating surfaces and fragmented treatment in this case brought him closer to the work of Rodin, whom the Greek artist admired immeasurably. Rodin was the first sculptor to intentionally produce a limbless torso as an autonomous work. In so doing, he bestowed an independent quality on the imperfect figure, stressing its expressive force through its modeling and the deliberate omission of its limbs.