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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Archaeological Background of Architects in Modern Greece

The contribution of architects to archaeology is especially important, although their relation to this science is ambivalent and occasionally conflicting. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century architectural drawing has been used for imprinting and representing the archaeological remnants, thus contributing to their more thorough knowledge. However, the product of this pro¬cedure not only functioned as a precise documentation, but it also recorded the tendencies and problematic of each period. For example, the linear drawing of neo¬classical archaeologists emphasized the decorative ele¬ments and the side views, whereas in the second third of the nineteenth century stress was given to the poly-chromy of decoration. In the same period, however, the romantic idealism of Leo von Klenze was succeeded by the more realistic and adjusted to the demands of the time approach of Florimond Boulanger or of Lyssandros Kaftantzoglou, which annoyed the fanatic lovers of classic. In edifices like Zappeion, the Polytechnical School, the Parliament or the church of Hagios Konstantinos a broad variety of influences from other historical periods is present, the result of a typological eclecticism. In the middle of the nineteenth century, when architecture appeared less magnificent but open and inclined to international exchanges, foreign archaeologists in Athens became the teachers of the new generation of architects. The dialogue of architecture with archaeology was not interrupted in the twentieth century, in spite of the appearance of modernism, although temporary rifts did occur. Architecture continued to refer to the past, its reference, however, to classic antiquity became less and less persuasive. Archeology, an autonomous science by then, changed and advanced in the field of the ethnology of folk art and tradition, while its contemporary architectural production continued to be identified and to mingle with it.