The events which took place during the battle of Lepanto (October 1571), when the fleet of the Holy League was sailing on seas under Venetian dominion, provided material for contemporary illustrations. Towards the late 16th century the groundbreaking isolario by G. Fr. Camocio (1574) includes illustrations of battles between Christians and Ottomans in the area of Nafplio. These depictions were copied in later isolaria, such as the one by G. Rosaccio (1598) and adorned works such as the account by O.G. Busbecq (1664), ambassador to the Sublime Gate in the mid-16th century.
The Accademia Cosmografica dei Argonauti in Venice, directed by V.M. Coronelli, published several editions of maps, illustrated with hundreds of copper engravings, which aimed at exalting Venice's victories during the Ottoman-Venetian war (1684-1687). One view of Nafplio is included in aV.M. Coronelli edition of 1687, while several variations and different views of the city with its three castles can be found in the 1688 V.M. Coronelli edition. The engravings in the 1708 works by V. M. Coronelli are highly appealing, although most plates repeat subjects already published in earlier editions of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti. Copies of these drawings, either identical or with variations, have been included in the reprints and translations of Coronelli's works since then. In addition, they illustrate travel accounts, historical treatises and geographic editions (Ol. Dapper, 1688, and J.von Sandrart in 1686 including new original engravings). The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period. The editions by J. Enderlin include copies of engravings found in earlier or nearly contemporary popular works (1686).The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia. Clearly influenced by the editions of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti, G. Albrizzi's work (1687) includes a series of major fortresses, ports and towns, mainly of the Peloponnese.
Approximately a century later (1771) Nafplion occupies an important position in J.N. Bellin's cartographic edition on the anchorages of the Ionian and the Adriatic seas. In the early 19th century the anchorages of the whole area are mapped again in the port index by J. Roux while towards the end of the century the area is charted again in travel guides, which have by now become extremely useful to travellers (K. Baedeker in 1897).
In the early 19th century, W. Gell (1810) realized one of the first systematic archaeological explorations in the locations described in Pausanias' text and was able to identify several Mycenaean sites (1810).
Nafplio however gains prominence in texts and illustrations after the Greek Revolution, when it becomes the first capital of the Greek State. Its role during the period of Independence earns the city a position in significant works that saw the light at the time, as a result of travellers' journeys and research in Greece in the years preceding the Revolution (F.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville, 1826-27). The drawings of W. Black (1822-26) are an invaluable source for the country's history, as they are among the scarce pictures from the era of the Greek Revolution. French cartographer E. Peytier lived in the Peloponnese for several years (1829-32, 1833-36), as member of the French Scientific Expedition, and was thus able to depict scenes of everyday life in the city. The “Album” by O.M. von Stackelberg (1828), which includes engravings of the highest quality, impresses the viewer by the integrity transmitted by the human figures it represents, including an imposing plate of a Greek revolutionary from Nafplio.
From the third decade of the 19th century onwards views of the city from the sea, (Ch. C. Frankland in 1829) as well as the impressive gulf and the plain around Nafplion (O.M. von Stackelberg in 1830) are depicted in engravings in all illustrated travel works relating journeys to the Greek State. Soon after the foundation of the Greek State Chr. Wordsworth released a richly illustrated historical narrative on Greece which appealed widely to the public. A reedition of this work (1882) has two views of Nafplio. 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.
As by now most travellers stopped at the new capital or stayed in it for some time, they were impressed by the singular beauty of the city and its three castles; consequently, we dispose of numerous views of Nafplio ((F.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville in 1835, J. Skene in 1838-45, AlbumPiraeus and Ports view of 1841, Th. Du Moncel in 1843, J.H. Allan in 1843, G.N. Wright in 1842, E. Rey in 1867). The prolific Irish scholar J.P. Mahaffy wrote an account of his tour of Greece (1890), illustrated with exquisite wood engravings. The plates were etched from pencil drawings, which in their turn were based on imaginary representations and photographs.
The same subjects are found in works of the late 19th and early 20th century, most of which follow the aesthetic conventions of the time. Some of them also focus on particular details of the city's space (engravings in R.R. Farrer in 1880 and A. Schweiger Lerchenfeld in 1887, photographs by K. Reisinger in 1923 and drawings by Fr. Perilla in 1929).
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou