The National Hellenic Museum will be closed to the public from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM on Friday, June 16 due to a private event.
The National Hellenic Museum is proud to present Hellenic Heads: George Petrides, A Personal Exploration Of Greek History and Culture over 2,500 Years
In Hellenic Heads—Petrides presents a personal exploration into his Greek background, seeking to understand the cultural influences that have shaped him and the people closest to him. Starting with a rigorous research process including archaeological artifacts, academic sources, family stories, and historical photographs, Petrides studied six important periods in Greek history spanning 2,500 years:
Photographed by Guillaume Ziccarelli
Following this historical research, Petrides sought out sculptural precedents for inspiration, ranging from works from the above periods to more recent sculptors such as Michelangelo, Houdon and Rodin. Then he asked family members to pose for him, producing six larger-than-life busts approximately three feet in height and stand taller than six feet on pedestals.
Petrides’ creative process is of his own invention. He often begins sculpting by hand with traditional clay, using a life model or photographs of his relatives who have passed. After weeks of traditional sculpting, the clay model is scanned in 3D, and the file is imported into digital sculpting software, where the work continues. When that looks right to him, he uses a range of technologies to bring the sculpture back into the three-dimensional world. These include machines in his studio that 3D print using materials such as resins and thermoplastics in sizes over 6 feet. Petrides then reworks the piece by hand using power tools and construction materials, until the form achieves its final shape and unique finish.
“As a Greek of the Diaspora—born in Athens and having spent most of my life in the U.S.—I have always been interested in my Greek roots, initially absorbing them through my family: a grandmother who escaped the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and parents who lived through the 1940s Nazi occupation and ensuing Greek Civil War,” says sculptor George Petrides. “I continued exploring these topics at Harvard College, where I studied Classical Greek literature, philosophy and history. During four visits to Mount Athos, I was steeped in the art and culture of the Byzantine period. When I visit Greece now, I hear the echoes of many of the periods I studied for Hellenic Heads.”
Photographed by Christos Simatos
About George Petrides
Named a “globally recognized sculptor” by Forbes (2022), George Petrides’ work can be seen around the world, ranging from public sculptures in Greece and Turkey marking the centennial of the destruction of Smyrna in 1922, to a bronze head in the renovated Tiffany’s flagship store at 727 Fifth Avenue in New York. Petrides, who lives and works primarily in New York City, creates sculptures that include figurative and abstract, in sizes ranging from palm-sized to over 12 feet on a base. Born and partially raised in Greece, he is steeped in ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and the later works that were influenced by it (Donatello, Michelangelo, Rodin, Maillol, et al.). Furthermore, modernist sculptors of the mid-20th century such as Giacometti and contemporary sculptors who reference ancient Greek sculpture such as Ray and Bhabha have played an important role in his work. His primary artistic interest is in the human experience in the form of the body and the head, exploring the beauty and the imperfection of people and of life.
Growing up in a family of artists and business people, Petrides’ first career was on Wall Street. He took his first art class at age 32 and continued taking art classes for some 20 years before committing to make art full-time. He studied drawing, painting and sculpture at the New York Studio School (whose famous students include Christopher Wool and Cecily Brown), at the Art Students League, and at the Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. In 2017 he dedicated himself to making art full-time. He has had solo shows in Brookline (Mass), Dubai, Monaco, Mykonos, Southampton (NY) and Washington, DC; and he has participated in multiple artist or group shows, including an exhibition with the important Greek American artist Nassos Daphnis in New York.