Portrait of George Averoff, 1888
Pavlos Prosalentis the Younger, son of the painter Spyridon Prosalentis, after studying in Athens, Naples, and Paris, and a brief stay in Corfu, settled in Alexandria, where he produced most of his works. Influenced by the orientalism of the nineteenth century and the environment of Alexandria, Pavlos Prosalentis concerned himself chiefly with subjects drawn from the East. Going beyond the idealistic types of his Italian training, he acceded to the teachings of the French School, but always within the framework of realism and of academic painting. Among other subjects, portraiture accounts for a significant part of his oeuvre as an artist, particularly the portrayal of figures from the Greek Diaspora.
The full-length Portrait of Georgios Averoff was painted from a photograph of the national benefactor which seems to have been more widely known, since it is to be found published in periodicals of the period, and it is on this that the portrait painted by the young Constantinos Parthenis eight years later is based. The work belonged to the Averoff Gymnasium in Alexandria and was donated, after the school closed, to Evangelos Averoff-Tosizza for the Gallery at Metsovo.