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by Archaeology Newsroom

Greece in the engravings of European editions. Views and “aspects”

Based, primarily, on depictions of the Greek urban and rural landscape, ancient monuments and Greek costumes this article examines the mode in which Greece appears in the engravings of European travelling editions from the end of the fifteenth to the nineteenth centrury. During this period, political and military events, together with current ideological, philosophical and artistic trends focus the interest of Europe on Greek territory. The older, arbitrary, usually imaginative pictures, employed in their iconography the code language of the early engravings. In the late seventeenth century they were succeeded by pictures comprising real elements, products of direct observation and in situ copying. At the same time, archaeolatry, the idealistic and romantic trend, the quest for the exotic and picturesque as well as the impact of the European artistic tendencies (Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism) create works that stand far away from reality. The multitude of eighteenth and nineteenth century engravings with Greek subjects compose a multiple in aspects and concepts physiognomy of Greece. Greece as a vision and romantic fantasy, Greece as a land belonging to the exotic East, Greece as a sad relic of a glorious past and a slave of the barbarian Turk despot represent characteristic features of this physiognomy.