Naxos becomes known to scholars and geographers together with the other Greek islands in the early 15th century with “Liber Insularum Archipelagi”, a pioneering chartographic manuscript by Cr. Buοndelmonti. Buondelmonti’s work became a model for the isolaria that followed, such as those by B B. dalli Sonetti (1485) and Β. Bordone (1547). Among other information, Bordone notes on his idiosyncratic maps information on myths, the climate and the history of the island.
Towards the end of the 16th century Naxos appears in G. Fr. Camocio’s isolario, a groundbreaking work for its era, which influenced later isolaria such as G. Rosaccio's (1598). Like all similar works, the isolario of Antonio Millo (1582-91) is enriched by engravings already published in contemporary editions. Antonio marks perillous waters on the maps of his isolaria, and uses the place names found in contemporary portolani.
In 1572 T. Porcacchi published a very successful isolario, (here the edition of 1620) in which he employed the novel technique of copper engraving. This technique permitted the creation of more detailed and accurate images and a greater concentration of information; it gradually became the technique of choice for all illustrated works, until the early 19th century, when progressively lithography became the most popular technique. In Μ. Boschini’s edition, a small beautiful sample of mid-17th century Venetian engraving, the maps of Naxos and other islands are accompanied by an explanatory text with historical and geographical information. The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese.
A table of ancient coins of Naxos is included in Ol. Dapper’s edition (1688) a work with highly elaborate engravings which was based mainly on ancient Greek and Latin sources, portolani, isolaria, contemporary travel accounts and authoritative maps. The work by J. Lauremberg (1660) includes excellent engravings of maps of ancient Greece. The maps are accompanied by historical and geographical explanatory texts, which testify to the author's deep erudition. The work includes a plate of an ancient coin of the island.
In the invaluable account of his travels, which also changed travellers’ itineraries in the Aegean sea (1717), J. Pitton de Tournefort includes images from Naxos, mostly female costumes, specimens of the remarkable local flora and a view of the port. With her unusual dress, the “Woman of Naxos” stood out among J.B. Van Mour’s one hundred engravings of costumes and ethnicities of the East (1714). A century later, a woman’s costume, not so impressive any more, is depicted in Oc. Dalvimart’s very valuable “Album” of human types of the Ottoman Empire. Harmonious with his text, the drawings by French traveller A.L. Castellan accompany his gentle discourse. Published in an elegant, small-format editon which came out in multiple volumes, they convey a unique perspective and present rare and original subjects (1812). The Album by J.B.B. Eyriès (1827), with portraits of Ottoman officials, in spite of being a copy of an earlier work, is considered one of the most polished works of this genre in the early 19th century.
Copper engravings of the Chora of Naxos, namely a map of the island, plans and drawings of an archaeological site as well as inhabitants in snapshots of everyday life, in a very modern composition, are included in the monumental work of M.G.F.A Choiseul-Gouffier, which expressed the love of antiquity and the philhellenism of the era in new and original fashion, establishing at the same time the primacy of image in travel accounts. The impressive ruins at the port entrance are depicted in Ed.D. Clarke’s travel chronicle, one of the most important accounts of the pre-revolutionary period, authored by a very observant and insighful traveller.
The companion Atlas to the work edited by J.B.G.M. Bory de St. Vincent (1823) includes an interesting map of the island.The observations made by the members of the Section of Architecture and Sculpture of the French Scientific Mision under G. A. Blouet are accompanied by drawings of excellent technique and high artistic quality. The conclusions of their research and the related graphic material, released in three monumental volumes (1831, 1833, 1838), contributed greatly to the perception of the monuments and constituted a work of reference for all subsequent studies.
A view of Za mountain on Naxos is included in a highly successful work, posterior to the foundation of the Greek State, that of Chr. Wordsworth [but also to the reeditions of 1882 (Chr. Wordsworth, 1882) and 1841 (Chr. Wordsworth, 1841)]. This work is more of historical narrative than a travel chronicle. The view of the mountain is copied from a lithograph of the Atlas by the French Scientific Expedition, but it is rendered more lightly here.
The Album of 1984 includes rare and very interesting wood engravings taken from the pioneering weekly review “The Illustrated London News” (1842-1885) and the similarly themed magazine “The Graphic” (1869-1885). The plates depict locations, people and events (political, social and military), from 1842 to 1885.
F.F. Boissonnas’ work in the first quarter of the 20th century constituted a landmark in the history of photography. In Naxos as in other places, the famous artist blends light, landscape and people in images that teach mutual respect. His photographs include views of Portara, small gulfs, the cave, Chora, churches on the island, inhabitants in idyllic places and scenes with a mythological aura.
The wood engtavings, water colours and photographs (1935) transmit Fr. Perilla's love and enthusiasm for the Cyclades islands, as well as his artistic sensitivity.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou