The subjects of the illustrations which accompany this edition of J. Spon 's voyage (1678), which is highly significant for the author's pioneering exploration of ancient sites, are novel and groundbreaking for their time. Most of the pictures are first-ever depictions of archaeological sites and remains. The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese, but the earliest images from Aegina show antiquities of the island. Examples include the inscriptions transcribed by R. Chandler in 1776, and a depiction of the standing column at Colona by Ed. Dodwell in 1819. 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. Drawings of architectural details and inscriptions from the island are also found in Ch.R. Cockerel (1830) and W.M. Leake (1846).
Shortly after the Greek Revolution, Η.W. Williams conveyed the force of the Doric columns against the impressive landscape in intensely romantic style (1829). The views by O.M. von Stackelberg (1830) transmit the serenity of the ancient remains. Stackelberg (1828) also depicted a female costume from Aegina. 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 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 Italian artist S. Pomardi (1820) accompanied Edward Dodwell in his archaeological explorations and drew several subjects at the scholar's request. Pomardi's drawings are characterized by clarity and concision.
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.
The ruins of Aphaia temple are also found in C. Frommel (1830), G.N. Wright (1842), J.H. Allan (1843) and Joseph Comte d’Estourmel (1848), as well as in one of the works by F.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville (1835), whose illustrations are copied from earlier popular works. Other views of the port of Aegina or imaginary depictions of the ancient temple illustrate the highly successful work by Ch. Wordsworth, published shortly after the foundation of the Greek state (here available in the 1882 reedition). Th. Du Moncel (1843) added human figures to the familiar ancient site, thus rendering the scene somewhat picturesque. During the same period, in 1843, E.Rey drew a view of the temple of Aphaia. Rey's coloured lithographs however only circulated twenty-four years later, in 1867. The drawings of Athenian monuments and Attic landscapes, with Aegina island against the skyline, by C.F.T.C. D’Aligny (1843) are quite original, both as to the viewpoint selected and as to their subjects.
Also interesting is the view of Aegina from the hill of the Nymphs, in the “Panorama of Athens” by Fr.A. Stademann in 1841. They also confirm that photographers, together with other artists of the time, are interested in antiquities rather than people (H. Beck, 1868).
Towards the late 19th century, the edition by A. Schweiger Lerchenfeld (1887), shows a preference for more detailed subjects, such as an archaic relief and a female costume in addition to the customary landscapes with ancient remains. 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 the early 20th century, the work of F.F. Boissonnas, a landmark in the history of photography, includes a rare shot of a seastorm on Aegina (1919). Another impressive photograph of the ancient ruins is found in E. Reisinger (1923), while Vera Willoughby (1925) created an original painting of the view from Aphaia temple.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou