Thanks to its splendid past, Corinth acquires a special place in the first printed books (incunabula) of the 15th century, such as the “Nurnberg chronicle” by H. Schedel (1493). Views of cities in this edition are largely imaginary and tend to greatly resemble each other.
Approximately half a century later, in 1545, the German humanist N. Gerbelius published an accompanying text to the map of Nicolaos Sophianos from Corfu. Gerbelius illustrates his texts with views of cities and other locations connected to place names on the map. The representation of Corinth is imaginary, follows the aesthetic conventions of the time, and tries to convey the grandeur of ancient monuments. 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 edition by G. Wheler (1682) includes a draft of the area, showing sights and an ancient grave with an inscription. A few years later, there is a very interesting view of Acrocorinth, showing the opposing camps of Ottoman and Venetians during the contemporary war conflicts (B. Randolph in 1689).
V.M. Coronelli, the founder of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti in Venice, published several editions illustrated with hundreds of copper engravings, which aimed at exalting Venice's victories during the Ottoman-Venetian war (1684-1687). One of these editions includes views of Corinth, a map and plans of the walls (V.M. Coronelli in 1688). 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, identical or with variations, illustrated the reprints or translations of Coronelli's works, and later travel chronicles, history books and geographic publications such as those by Ol. Dapper(“Morea” in 1688, with exquisite engravings). Dapper's edition includes a table of ancient coins, a depiction of an ancient Greek myth and a representation of an ancient grave, borrowed from Wheler's earlier edition. The editions by J. Enderlin include copies of engravings found in earlier or nearly contemporary popular works (1686). 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. 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.
Paintings by French architect D. Le Roy are lacking in exactitude but follow the aesthetic conventions of the time. Le Roy himself was convinced that everything is permitted in representation, that subject is more important than image itself and emotion takes precedence over exact depiction. Le Roy had to face the incisive but well-founded criticism of British architects J. Stuart and N. Revett. Nevertheless, his work (1758, 1770) had a great impact on the art and architecture of his time. Le Roy's depiction of the temple at Corinth either confirms that Le Roy never visited the place or shows that he drew an inexistent view of the temple on purpose. The English edition of Le Roy's work (R. Sayer in 1759) was enriched by explanatory texts and extracts from the popular chronicle by George Wheler (1682). The temple of ancient Corinth is represented together with an ancient monument of Athens, in an imaginary composition.
J.J. Barthélemy achieved a fictional recreation of the ancient world, doubling as travel narrative. Barthélemy painted an idyllic panorama of antiquity, accompanied by Barbié de Bocage's maps and drawings (first edition in 1788, reedition in 1832). This edition, which fuelled the readers' interest for antiquity, includes a map of the wider area of Corinth.
A picturesque snapshot of the temple of Apollo with human figures is published in the highly significant work by J. Stuart / N. Revett (1794), who by their thorough and precise measurements gave prominence to ancient Greek (and to a lesser extent, Roman) architecture.
Four remarkable maps circulated in approximately the same period. Those are the maps in the work by J.N. Bellin (1771), the travel chronicle by archaeologist R. Chandler, member of the Dilettante society (1776), and the work by seasoned traveller and mineralogist Ed. D. Clarke (1816).
Works of the early 19th century include the views of the Doric temple of Apollo, rendered in the coloured drawings by talented painter L. Mayer (1803) and in the work of C. Frommel (1830). At the same time, the impressive landscape of the Corinthian plains enriches representations of the area (Ed. Dodwell in 1819, T.S. Hughes in 1820, W. Williams in 1829 with many singular paintings characterized by sharp contrasts, Ο.M. von Stackelbergin 1830). Stackelberg's paintings of folk themes (1831) are impressive; the subjects, but also the posture and movement of the figures are quite novel and diverge from the models established at the time. After his journey in Greek lands, at the begining of the 19th century, Stackelberg was able to render historical locations and antiquities in accordance with the emerging tendency of romanticism (1834). The drawings by French painting Th. Le Blanc (1833-34), made from nature, are marked by intense emotion.
During the 19th century the Peloponnese becomes one of the most widely visited parts of Greece. Corinth is most often preferred by travellers, and illustrations of the city become prominent in travel accounts (F.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville in 1835, copying an earlier engraving, J. Skene in 1838-45, G.N. Wright in 1842, J.H. Allan in 1843, C.F.T.C. D’Aligny (1843), J. Comte d’Estourmel in 1848, E. Rey in 1867, R.R. Farrer in 1882, A. Schweiger Lerchenfeld in 1887 and many remarkable themes from the area in the paintings by Th. Moncelin 1843). The capacity for insight and keen observation evident throughout Henri Belle's text (1881) equally mark the illustrations of his travel account.
Views of Corinth and Corinthia, copied from other popular editons or executed in a novel style, , as well as snapshots from everyday life are found in Chr. Wordsworth's highly successful work of the post-revolutionary period, which is more of a historical narrative on Greece than a travel account (reedition of 1882).
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.
Finally, the capacity for insight and keen observation evident throughout Henri Belle text (1881) equally mark the illustrations of his travel account.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 work by El. Cabrol (1890) includes a view of Ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth, in a heliographic plate.
Remarkable plates are also found in Ed. Dodwell (1812), (details of a relief on an ancient well), and the edtion of Lord Byron's poems (illustration of a poem on Corinthia, 1849). A map of the wider area is included in the work by Fr.Aldenhoven (1841), printed in Athens, while the archaeological sites of Corinthia are mapped in Baedeker's travel guide, indispensable aid to travellers in the late 19th century (1894).
The work of J. von Falke (1887 / 2002) is illustrated by exquisite engravings. They show works of ancient Greek art and imaginary depictions of scenes from the public and private life of the ancient Greeks. 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. In general, the artistic magazines of the 19th century published plates with views of significant monuments of the East, accompanied by thorough explanatory texts. They sold well, and aimed both at entertaining and educating the public (M. Busch, 1869).
The illustrations of travel chronicles in the 20th century combine several techniques such as drawing, engraving, water colour and photography. Fr. Perilla (1929) has a drawing of Acrocorinth, while E. Reisinger (1923) achieved excellent shots of details of well-known monuments. Finally, R. Puaux (1932) has an original photographic shot of the ruins, with the rock of Acrocorinth in the background.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou