THE NIKOS SOFIALAKIS CENTER OF NEOCLASSICAL SCULPTURE
By the 1960s, Sofialakis had entered his most productive period, during which he worked ardently both, within Greece, and abroad where he traveled extensively. The decade opened with his participation in the 1960 Pan-Hellenic Artists Exhibition at the Zappeion with his statue Kore with Grapes, hailed by many critics as the artist’s grand opus; this is also the period of his monumental work, The Battle of Crete, a composition memorializing the eponymous World War II battle, and the height of his success in the United States, to which he traveled twice, by formal invitation to present his works.
The Exhibitions in the United States
In 1967, Sofialakis was invited to the United States to participate in the Fine Arts Festival of Mediterranean Countries in New York where he presented his exhibition, entitled, The Gods of Greece, a theme consisting of 70 marble pieces featuring Ancient Greek mythological motifs. His work was publicized at great length in print, radio, and television, earning him great praise for his work, such that the Metropolitan Museum of Art requested his assistance with the restoration of antiquities on exhibit at the museum.
At the conclusion of his visit to the United States, Sofialakis was received by his academic colleagues at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, where he was presented with the University Medal in admiration and recognition of his work. In 1970, Sofialakis traveled to the United States a second time, to present his works in the Fine Arts Festivals held in Virginia and Colorado. His first exhibition, held at the Atheneaum Museum of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association, received great coverage, and Sofialakis continued his successful tour in Denver, Colorado, where he was distinguished by the Governor of Colorado, John Love (1970) for his contribution to Art.
The Battle of Crete
Between exhibitions in the United States, Sofialakis worked on one of the most significant compositions of his career, which began to take shape in 1968, when the leader of the National Resistance in Crete during World War II, General “Kapetan” Manolis Badouvas, commissioned Sofialakis to memorialize the epic Battle of Crete. Sofialakis researched the subject for six months before unveiling his Battle of Crete in June 1969, an 18m long x 0,90m high marble depiction of the famous battle. His monumental composition, which was set as the metope of the Cretan National Resistance Memorial Museum in Heraklion, Crete, founded by General Badouvas, was applauded by the press that was now following the artist’s career closely, owing to his national – and international - successes.
Germany and Austria
At the onset of the 1970s, Sofialakis had traveled abroad extensively and had just presented his works in the United States; this time he would return to present his works in Europe. His impressive exhibition at Gallery Agapi in Blankeneser, Hamburg, Germany in 1975 inaugurated the Gallery, the marble crest of which bears his design, while his presentation during the Portrait of Greek Artists Exhibition in Vienna, Austria, 1980-1981 was a resounding success.
1960 - 1980
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Watch the Kore with Grapes
The Sculptor visiting the Governor's Hall in Denver during his second tour of the United States (1970)
The Sculptor with his composition,
The Battle of Crete, in the garden
of his atelier (1969)
Unveiling of The Battle of Crete
at the Artist's atelier (June 4, 1969)
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