Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Georgios Iakovides/Jakobides (Greece, 1835-1932)

Figure 1.--Georgios Iakovides painted this portrait of his wife and son in 1895. Note the boy's extremly short hair. It is no possdoble to make out much detail in his outfit, but note his large broad-brimmed sailor hat.

Georgios Iakovides is one of the masters of Greek painting of late 19th-early 20th century. He was an important member of the Greek "Munich school". Iakovides dominated Greek painting for many years. He incorporated elements of impressionism in his paintings. Almost all his paintings have children (mostly boys) and infants as subjects. As he worked in Germany for many years, many of his depictions are of German rather than Greek children. We have been unable to find much biographical information available on his background. One of his best known works is a portrait of his wide and young son (1895). "The Bad Grandson" (1884) seems the anthesis of a number of Marie Cassett works. Other notable works include "The First Steps" (c. 1892) and "The Children's Concert" (1900).

Early Life

HBC has no early background information on Iakovidis at this time.


Iakovidis was taught in Athens by Nikiforos Lytras and Leonidas Drossis. He moved to Munich in 1877 and completed his studies with Lofftz and Max.


Iakovides studies and worked in Germany for many years. was accepted as a member of the Academy of Munich in 1878. He won many gold medals at international exhibitions which helped him gain the position of Director of the National Gallery and professor of painting in the School of Fine Arts, He lectured there for 28 years. While a semenal figure in Greek art he has been criticized for "barricading" himself behind outdated standpoints" and attempting use his authority to impose them on his students. Most of the scenes prior to 1900 were painted in Germany. After his wife died he reyrned to Greece He was invited to be the first director of the National Gallery and teach at the School of Beaux Arts, of which he soon became the first dean (1904). He separated it from the crafts school.

Body of Work

The very extensive body of work of Iakovidis show the conservative influence of the Munich Academy as well as his own more free-flowing technique. There is also a clear if somewhat muted influence of impressionism. These are themes that later Greek artists influenced by him persued. Iakovidis was an exceptionally skilled draftsman and througout his carreer acurately depicted his subjects. Here he was strongly influed by the Munich Academy's insistence on perfect technique. Most of his works are portraits and genre subjects. Almost all his paintings have children (mostly boys) and infants as subjects. Iakovidis is probably the most popular Greek artist of the era, in part because of the focus on childen. His depictions of children are very accurate, including their clothing and thus a valuable source of information on fashion. as he did a great deal of genre work, many of his subjects are the average Greek child and not portraits of children from wealthy families. It is no the accuracy in his painings that impresseses one, but more the tenderness he expresses for the children and an aura of innosence. Many of his early portraits have classical color schemes, but his later works are much lighter, showing the influence of te impressionists.

Individual Paintings

Wife and Son (1895)

One example is a portrait of the artist's wife and son (1895) seeen here (figure 1). The two are dressed in black. Perhaps the family is in mourning. The Greeks do not appaer to have believed in long hair for boys. Note the extremly short, almost shaved hair of Iakovides' son. Compare this with Renoir paintings of his sons at about the same time. The boy's clothing, however, seems more in line woth the European fashions of the day. It is not possible to make out much detail in the boy's outfit, but note his large broad-brimmed sailor hat.

Figure 2.--Georgios Iakovides painted "The Children's Concert" about 1900. The light looks Mediterranean, but the painting was done in Germany. About this time Iakovides moved from Germany to Greece.

The Children's Concert (1900)

Another popular work by Georgios Iakovides is "The Children's Concert" done in 1900 (figure 2). This painting depicts the "childhood innocence" for which Iakovides is best known. This is one of the 10 most famous Greek paintings of 20th century and is instantly recognizable throughout Greece today. The painting appaers to be a sunny scene rural home where the children are intertaining a mother and baby with an impromtu concert. They play mostly improvised instruments. One wonders what they actually sounded like. All of the boys are dressed alike with kong-sleeved shirts and kneepants, but with out long stockings and shoes. The children here have short hair, but not the close-cropped hair that we have observed in many other paintings and photographs. The painting depicted a German scene. Of course Iakovides is influenced by the Greek light, which he lets in, but the scene is set in Germany.

Other Works

"The Bad Grandson" (1884) seems the anthesis of a number of Marie Cassett works. Another notable work is "The First Steps" (c. 1892).

Country Depictions

The artist's grandson tells us that many paintings are not of Greek, but German boys and thus the clothing depicted are German rather than Greek styles. The reader writes, "As I was browsing your webpage I saw some comments on my great-grandfather's paintings of children and their clothes (Georgios Jakobides, which you spell Iacovidis). Just as an aside, his paintings until 1900 are of German clothes, as are the exteriors. Even the iconic"childrens' concert" is painted in Chimsee, our family summer house in the outskirts of Munich. Should you wish to find information (and a more informed, more moderated view of his contribution and art), the National Gallery in Athens has a catalog out in Elnglish (which accompanies a major retrospective going on as we speak; inaugurated by the Greek Primeminister in November 2005." [Jacobides]


Jacobides, Michael G. E-mail, January 7, 2006.


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Created: April 27, 2002
Last updated: 11:05 PM 1/8/2006