Nikolaos Gysis was born in Sklavochori, Tinos island Greece.
Gysis is considered one of Greece’s most important 19th-century painters.
Very early in life Gysis (also spelled Gyzis) showed an interest in art and at the age of eight was admitted to the Athens School of Arts, even though the proper age of admission was twelve.
The family moved to Athens and Gysis followed the curriculum as an observer for the first four years, and as a student after that until he was twenty two (1864).
In 1865, thanks to efforts by his artist friend, Nikiforos Lytras and interest by a wealthy sponsor – Nikolaos Nazos, Nikolaos Gysis obtained a scholarship to attend the Munich Academy of Art where he studied under Karl von Piloty.
In 1872, Gysis returned to Athens and toured Asia Minor but returned to Munich in 1874 after collecting material to further his work.
In 1880, Gyzis was made an honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Munich.
In 1882, he received a diploma of recognition and a medal from King George I of Greece. The following year he became a professor at the Munich Academy where he attained tenure six years later. Many other honours followed.
His works can be found in museums in Greece such as the National Gallery, the Benaki and the Museum of the City of Athens, in museums in Germany such as the Neue Pinakothek, in Munich and in Australia in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and in important private collections.