Ioannis Vaptistis Kalosgouros belongs among the Ionian island artists who revived the art of sculpture in the Ionian, creating the first works of modern Greek sculpture.

The bust of the illustrious Hellenist and Philhellene Frederick North, Count of Guilford (1776-1827), who in 1824 founded the Ionian Academy on Corfu and with whose financial assistance a number of later to be illustrious Greeks studied abroad, is almost a faithful copy of the bust Pavlos Prossalentis had made in 1827. The English Philhellene is depicted wearing the specially designed ancient-style uniform of the Lord of the Ionian Academy. His mature age is expressed by the wrinkled cheeks and the stringy but at the same time rather loose neck while his gaze is fixed, in keeping with the neoclassicist model. The thin hair on his head is framed in relief by a decorative band with an owl in the center, the symbol of education. The imposing rendering of the figure expresses self-confidence and satisfaction and stresses the count’s dynamic personality.

Sculpture appeared as an autonomous art form in Greece in the Ionian Islands at the beginning of the 19th century. Corfu native Pavlos Prosalent, the Elder the first Greek sculptor with academic training. He studied at St. Luke’s Academy in Rome and was responsible for bringing neoclassical teachings to the Ionian Islands.

His bust of Plato is one of the first works of his mature period. In fact, the sculptor has engraved an inscription on its side that proudly declares it to be the first bust in modern Greek art. The figure of the ancient philosopher is rendered with a serious, pensive gaze, a broad, clear forehead, strongly chiseled characteristics, a full, well-groomed beard, and long hair. Prosalentis has carved an idealized figure more divine than human, in keeping with neoclassical ideals. This divine aspect is accentuated by the ribbon tied around the head and by the inscription “Daimonios”, meaning divine.