A Speculative Romance

The 18th and 19th century created a vastly significant and unique time in social and artistic history. The French Renaissance brought the rebirth of interest in Greco-Roman culture and its achievements. Early archaeologists, or antiquarians, were central to this artistic change. In 1506, discovery of works such as the Laocoon brought the rebirth of Greek antiquity to Western culture. Soon there after, a neo classical revival in French architecture integrated classical thought into all levels of society. By social demand, travels to Greece exploded and archaeologists brought back thousands of wondrous objects and the stories to accompany them. Through the process of experimentation, artists were using the stories of travellers to create fanciful renditions of how they believed Ancient Greece to be during its classical glory. Since there was no documentation to support artefact history, many painters who were too poor to travel to Greece used the stories of archaeologists to create a romantic narrative within each piece of art. Featured in the Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization, these 19th paintings highlight in startling accuracy a new artistic paradigm fashioned after a classical socio-cultural thought. This brings a timeless beauty gripped within the canvas as exemplified in the featured paintings.    

Roman Emperor Hadrian was the first non Greek to be enamored by classical thought. His love for Greek art revolutionized Roman sculpture and architecture.
Constantiople was one of the largest and righest urban centers in the Eastern Mediterranean. Combining Greek and Roman elements, visitors were struck by its timeless beauty far after its destruction.
Pynx was the meeting place of the earliest known democratic legislatures. It was fully excavated in 1910 by Homer Thompson which is when stone building foundations were fully unearthed.
Thebes was the largest city in central Greece and Athens greatest rival.It was a military superpower with massive fortification walls and is central to Greek mythology.
Situated on the Athenian Acropolis, architects Christian Hansen and Eduard Schaubert excavated it in the 1830s. It was fully dismantled in the 17th century and re-erected from remaining parts in 1836.
The capital and largest city of Greece. The center of art and politics in ancient Greece. When this painting was created, tensions were high. By 1821 The Greek War of Independence erupted.
"The heroic spirit of the War of Independence captivated men of conscience." Note the inclusion of ancient ruins representing that defeating the turks the Greeks vindicated their glorious past.
An active bazaar in Athens featuring a fully constructed and fortified acropolis in the background.
An Athenian bride adhering to traditions passed down through many generations. A representation of classical wedding traditions in modern thought.
The artist who served in nearby Corfu attempted this visual reconstruction of daily life on the island.
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