He was born in Athens in 1937. He studied Archaeology and History of the Art at the Universities of Thessaloniki and Athens and continued his studies in Germany at the University of Freiburg. During the period 1965-1969 he served as Ephor at the Greek Archaeological Service. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tübingen, where he obtained his doctorate in 1972. In 1972-1973 he attended courses at the Sorbonne and the École Pratique des Hautes Études. He was appointed Director of the Benaki Museum in 1973 and remained in the same position until 2015. In 1992 he was elected Professor of History of the Art at the University of Athens, where he taught until 2005.
He has lectured and participated in many scientific conferences and museums in Europe and America. His writings encompass the fields of Classical Archaeology, History of the Art, Museum Studies and Modern Greek culture. The latter research interest was developed during his tenure at the Benaki Museum, which he effected a radical reorganization in line with the latest advances in museum practice.
His writings include the following monographs: Attische Giebelskulpturen und Akrotere des 5. Jh.v.Chr. (1978), Benaki Museum Guide (Athens 1980), Greek traditional jewellery (Athens 1980), Greece and the Sea (exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam 1987) Greece and the Benaki Museum (Athens 1997), Guide of the Benaki Museum (Athens 2000), Parerga (Athens 2003), The Parthenon Frieze: Problems, Challenges, Interpretations (Athens 2008), Epainos Luigi Beschi (ed.) Benaki Museum, 7th Annex (2011); other scholarly contributions have appeared in Greek and international scholarly periodicals (Archaiologikon Deltion, Archaiologika Analekta Athenon, Bulletin de Correspondence Héllénique, Antike Plastik, Athenische Mitteilungen, Antike Kunst, Städdel-Jahrbuch, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome – Antiquité), conference proceedings, encyclopedias (Enciclopedia dell' Arte Antica), dictionaries (Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae), honorary volumes and collective editions.
He has served as committee member of several learned societies and institutes. He was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1999) from France, the Commander of the Order of the Phoenix Insignia by the President of the Hellenic Republic, the Silver Medal of the Academy of Athens (2000) and the Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana (2008). He is an Honorary Professor of the Universities of the Aegean (2005), Thessaloniki (2016) and Thrace (2016). He is also a member of the Academia Scientiarium et Artium Europae (1991), a member of the Academia Europea (1992) and a foreign member of the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei.