Santorini enters the space of scholarly study and geography together with the other Greek islands with “Liber Insularum Archipelagi”, a pioneering early 15th century cartographic manuscript by Cr. Buondelmonti. Buondelmonti’s work became a model for the isolaria that followed, in manuscript or in print, down to the early 18th century. Consequently, the isolario by B. dalli Sonetti (1485), whose maps are accompanied by a sonnet on the corresponding island, as well as the one by B. Bordone (1547), who also provides explanatory texts on the myths and history of each island, have been inspired by that groundbreaking work of the early 15th century.
G.Fr. Camocio’s isolario, also pioneering work for its era was published in the aftermath of victory of the Holy League in the battle of Lepanto. Camocio's work inspired later isolaria such as the one by G. Rosaccio (1598). Both include maps of Santorini. 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 Venetian engraving of the mid-17th century, the maps of Santorini and other islands are accompanied by an explanatory text containing 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.
In the early 18th century, French naturalist J. Pitton de Tournefort travelled to the Aegean islands and later published the chronicle of his tour (1717), offering new knowledge on the Archipelago and thus radically changing its perception. The information he provides on history, mythology, economy, demographics and everyday life became thenceforth an indispensable guide to all travellers to the islands.
The late 17th century saw the publication of another work, a splendid specimen of the major tradition of Flemish engraving. The text and illustrations in Ol. Dapper's work (1688) were based mainly on ancient Greek and Latin sources, portolani, isolaria, contemporary travel accounts (Dapper never travelled himself) and reliable maps.
French nobleman and later ambassador to the Sublime Gate M.G.F.A. Choiseul-Gouffier travelled to the East in the late 18th century. His monumental work changed the perception of the East by Western European readers and expressed the intellectual and artistic currents of the time in a most striking manner. Choiseul-Gouffier provides a map of Caldera and a map of Santorini, ancient coins, views of settlements and locations and a depiction of women in a snapshot of everyday life. A map of the island, showing its singular geological structure is included in the companion Atlas to the chronicle by G.A. Olivier. Immediately after the foundation of the Greek State, Chr. Wordsworth released a richly illustrated work, more of a historical narrative than a travel account, which appealed widely to the public. The reedition of 1882 includes a map and a view of Santorini.
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.
From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the modalities of subjective, partial representation of space are subverted by the appearance of photography. This technique becomes the most powerful means of representation, albeit always bearing the seal of the individual photographer. F.F. Boissonnas' work constituted a landmark in the history of this art. The famous photographer focuses on the impressive ruins of ancient Thera, the monastery of Prophet Elias, scenes of rural life, views of diverse locations and naturally on the otherworldly landscape of Caldera, with passion and sensitivity.
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