The temple of Poseidon in Sounio is highlighted in a painting by French architect D. Le Roy, in which, according to aesthetic conventions of the time, everything is permitted in representation, subject is more important than the image itself and emotion takes precedence over exact depiction. Roy however had to face the incisive but well-founded criticism of British architects J. Stuart and N. Revett. The English edition of Le Roy's work (R. Sayer in 1758) was enriched by explanatory texts and extracts from the popular chronicle by George Wheler (1682).
In the rare album of drawings in sepia kept at the Gennadius Library (Album of 18 original drawings in sepia, c. 1800), the artist conveys the overall sensation of the landscape with intensity, at the cost of details of each monument.
An imaginary depiction of the same space as it would have been in Antiquity is included in J.J. abbé Barthélemy's travel narrative and fictional recreation of the ancient world, which paints an idyllic panorama of antiquity accompanied by maps and drawings (1832). The magnificent plates by Ed. Dodwell (1819) provide a wealth of information on public and private life of the Greeks in the pre-revolutionary period.
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.
F.C.H.L. Pouqueville’s edition of 1835 borrows views of Sounio and other places from popular and significant earlier editions. Shortly after the Greek Revolution (1829), Η.W. Williams highlights the strength of Doric columns against the stormy sea, a romantic scenery repeated in C. Frommel (1830) and G.N. Wright (1842). The latter discreetly adds human forms, thus rendering the scene somewhat picturesque. Th. Du Moncel (1843) conveys a closer view of the temple while Ε. Rey (1867) dares to represent the famous cape from a fresh viewpoint.
In contrast, the two views by O.M. von Stackelberg show the simplicity and serenity of the space and ruins. The exact same views, executed in slightly different artistic style illustrate Ch. Wordsworth’s work, published shortly after the foundation of the Greek State. In contrast, the two views by O.M. von Stackelberg show the simplicity and serenity of the space and ruins. This view was copied in a later edition (A.v. Schweiger Lerchenfeld, 1887). Similar views, executed in a slightly different artistic style, illustrate the editon of Chr. Wordsworth, 1841 and the reedition of Ch. Wordsworth’s work (1882). The rule of representing space with meticulous fidelity, abstaining from artistic endeavours, which marks Ed. Dodwell's work (1821), finds its exception in the view of Poseidon's temple, with the gracious addition of two figures who converse with each other, probably Dodwell himself and his Greek guide.
Finally, the capacity for insight and keen observation evident throughout Henri Belle's 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 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.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou