Greek Revolution and Art. The protagonists on Marble. Illustrative and Typological Specimens

Markella-Elpida Tsichla


The Greek Revolution of 1821 was one of the most important issues in Europe of the early 19th century on a political and military level. The outbreak of the Greek Revolution was not supported by the Great Powers of the time, since as a liberation struggle it violated the terms of the Holy Alliance (1815), however it managed to prevail thanks to the support of the people of Europe as they regarded this an effort of a small nation to claim its freedom and oppose to slavery and authoritarianism. After all, we are in the time of Romanticism and this kind of struggle enjoyed the support of intellectuals, collectives, and different groups of citizens. Philhellenism was on the rise, and painters like Delacroix made a huge impact with works that made a strong impression on Europe. After the success of the Revolution, many foreign artists came to Greece, some on their own initiative as travelers and others carrying out their King’s orders. Some of them were painters (both amateur and professional) that painted live portraits of the leading figures of the Revolution, leaving behind a remarkable oeuvre when seen from a historical, factual, and artistic point of view. And since at that point in Greece there could be no room for domestic artistic creation, the work of these artists is considered particularly important in terms of portraiture, history, facts, and artistic value. The most important out of the painters that were in Greece at that critical time are the Bavarians Karl Krazeisen and Peter von Hess, who painted portraits of Greek fighters and these portraits have since become the blueprints that other artists, painters, and sculptors based their work on resulting in the perpetuation of the historical memory.

It is worth mentioning that in the 200 years of independence these works remain of enduring value when paying tribute and respect to the first martyrs of the Greek Struggle.

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