Greek academic art of the 19th century

The most important artistic movement of Greek art in the 19th century was academic realism, often called in Greece "the Munich School" (Greek: Σχολή του Μονάχου) because of the strong influence from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich (German: Münchner Akademie der Bildenden Künste),[1] where many Greek artists trained. The Munich School painted the same sort of scenes in the same sort of style as Western European academic painters in several countries, and did generally not attempt to incorporate Byzantine stylistic elements into their work.


The creation of romantic art in Greece can be explained mainly due to the particular relationships that were created between recently liberated Greece (1830) and Bavaria during King Otto's years (See:Kingdom of Greece). In this period the Greek state was encouraging young artists to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and in particular study painting.[2] In addition, after centuries of Ottoman rule, few opportunities existed for young artist in Greece itself, immediately after independence, so studying abroad was imperative for them. Munich was an important international center for the arts and was the place where the majority of Greek artists of the 19th century would choose to study; a minority would go to Paris. Both academic and personal bonds developed between early Greek painters and Munich artistry, giving birth to the Greek "Munich School" of painting. Many of these young artists later returned to Greece to teach at the Polytechnic School and later Athens School of Fine Arts, where they would transmit their artistic experiences. Some of them, like Nikolaus Gysis, chose to remain in Munich, the so-called Athens on the Isar.[3]

Artistic styles

The works of the Munich school painters are characterized by an expert but over-use of colours that would overshadow the figures' expressions. Scenes were depicted in a pompous and theatrical way, although not lacking in emotional tension. In academic realism the imperative is the ethography, the representation of urban and/or rural life with a special attention in the depiction of architectural elements, the traditional cloth and the various objects. Munich School painters were specialized on portraiture, landscape painting and still life.

Representative artists

Eros and the painter - gysis
Nikolaus Gysis, Eros and the Painter.

Artists belonging to the Munich School include the first painters of free Greece, such as Theodoros Vryzakis (1814–1878) and Dionysios Tsokos (1820–1862). (According to other art critics, he belongs more to the Heptanese School). Both of them draw their subjects from the Greek War of Independence in 1821, focusing on idealised ideas on the Greek Revolution and not giving much attention to the violent and tragic aspects of a war. Even more dramatic in their depictions were the later Konstantinos Volanakis (1837–1907) and Ioannis Altamouras (1852–1878), who were focused more on the naval battles of the 1821 Revolution.[1]

Main representatives of the artistic movement were apart from Volanakis the painters who worked mainly during the second half of the 19th century like Nikiphoros Lytras (1832–1904), Nikolaos Gysis (1842–1901), Georgios Iacovidis. (1853–1907), and Georgios Roilos (1867–1928). In his mature career Roilos went beyond the principles of the Munich School and introduced impressionism into Greek painting. Gysis stayed at the Academy in Germany while the others have returned to teach at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Their teaching and artistry have marked the 19th-century artistic era in Greece.[2]

Nikiphoros Lytras is considered the pope of Greek painting and the major iconographer of Greek life during the 19th century. Paintings such as The milkman or The awaiting consist reference points in Greek art. Gysis worked mainly on ethography while at the maturity of his career he shifted towards the iconography of visions, allegories and symbolisms. Iacovidis paintings were mainly portraiture and depiction of children scenes. The latter was the founder and first curator of the National Gallery of Greece in Athens.[1]

Other painters include Epameinondas Thomopoulos, Ioannis Koutsis, Stylianos Miliadis, Nikolaos Vokos, Ioannis Zacharias (1845–?) and Polychronis Lembesis. Influences of academic realism can also be seen in the work of many Greek artists such as Spyridon Vikatos (1878–1960), Nikolaos Davis (1883-1967), Thalia Flora-Karavia (1871–1960), Ioannis Doukas (1841-1916) and Ektor Doukas (1886–1969).[2][4]

The end of the movement started when some Greek painters after the mid-19th century such as Periclis Pantazis (1849–1884) departed from academic realism towards impressionism and the final end occurred when expressionist Nikolaos Lytras (1883–1927), Georgios Roilos, and Konstantinos Parthenis (1878–1967) started to teach at the Athens School of Fine Arts.[1]


Volanakis 001

Constantinos Volanakis, Anchored boats.

Αλταμούρας Ιωάννης - Το λιμάνι της Κοπεγχάγης

The port of Copenhagen by Ioannis Altamouras

Lytras - Execution of Gregory V

Nikiphoros Lytras, Execution of Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople.

Gysis 003

Nikolaus Gyzis, Learning by heart.

Theodoros Rallis - The Booty.jpeg

Theodoros Rallis, The Booty.

Grandma's Favorite

Georgios Jakobides, Grandma's Favorite.

Gysis Nikolaos Capuchin

Nikolaus Gyzis, Capuchin monk.


Nikiphoros Lytras, The blowing up of the Nasuh Ali Pasha's flagship by Kanaris.

Boat in rough waters by Vassileios Chatzis

Vassileios Chatzis, Boat in rough waters.


Georgios Jakobides, Bavarian village.

The sortie of Messologhi by Theodore Vryzakis

Theodoros Vryzakis, The sortie of Messologhi.

Gysis Nikolaos Boy with cherries

Nikolaus Gysis, Boy with cherries.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Bank of Greece - Events Archived 2007-06-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c New Page 1
  3. ^
  4. ^ Towards the formation of a professional identity: women artists in Greece at the beginning of the twentieth century (2005) Chariklia-Glafki Gotsia Women's History Review, 14;pp: 285 - 300

External links

23 October 1862 Revolution

The 23 October 1862 Revolution was a popular insurrection which led to the overthrow of King Otto of Greece. Starting on 18 October in Vonitsa, it soon spread to other cities and reached Athens on 22 October.

3 September 1843 Revolution

The 3 September 1843 Revolution (Greek: Επανάσταση της 3ης Σεπτεμβρίου 1843; N.S. 13 September), was an uprising by the Hellenic Army in Athens, supported by large sections of the people, against the autocratic rule of King Otto. The rebels, led by veterans of the Greek War of Independence, demanded the granting of a constitution and the departure of the Bavarian officials that dominated the government. The revolution succeeded, ushering the period of constitutional monarchy and universal suffrage in Greece.

Carl Wilhelm von Heideck

Carl Wilhelm von Heideck (Greek: Κάρολος φον Χέυδεκ, born in Sarralbe, Moselle, on 6 December 1788 – died in Munich on 21 February 1861) was a Bavarian military officer, a philhellene and painter.

Dimitrios Kallergis

Dimitrios Kallergis (Greek: Δημήτριος Καλλέργης; 1803 – 8 April 1867) was a fighter of the Greek War of Independence, major general, politician and one of the most important protagonists of the 3 September 1843 Revolution.

Eduard Schaubert

Gustav Eduard Schaubert (Greek: Εδουάρδος Σάουμπερτ, romanized: Edouárdos Sáoumpert) 27 July 1804, Breslau, Prussia – 30 March 1860, Breslau) was a Prussian architect, who made a major contribution to the re-planning of Athens after the Greek War of Independence.

English Party

The English Party (Greek: Αγγλικό Κóμμα), was one of the three informal early Greek parties that dominated the political history of the First Hellenic Republic and the first years of the Kingdom Of Greece during the early 19th century, the other two being the Russian Party and the French Party.

Epirus Revolt of 1854

The 1854 revolt in Epirus was one of the most important of a series of Greek uprisings that occurred in the Ottoman-occupied Greek world during that period. When the Crimean War (1854–1856) broke out, many Epirote Greeks, with tacit support from the Greek state, revolted against the Ottoman rule. Although this movement was supported by distinguished military personalities, the correlation of forces doomed it from the start, leading to its suppression after a few months.

French Party

The French Party (Greek: Γαλλικό Κόμμα, romanized: Galliko Komma), presenting itself as the Constitutional Party (Greek: Συνταγματικό Κόμμα), was one of the three informal early Greek parties that dominated the early political history of Modern Greece, the other two being the Russian and the English Party.

Georg Ludwig von Maurer

Georg Ludwig Maurer, since 1831 Georg Ludwig von Maurer (2 November 1790 – 9 May 1872) was a German statesman and legal historian from the Electoral Palatinate.

Greek Constitution of 1844

The first constitution of the Kingdom of Greece was the Greek Constitution of 1844. On 3 September 1843, the military garrison of Athens, with the help of citizens, rebelled and demanded from King Otto the concession of a Constitution.

The Constitution that was proclaimed in March 1844 came from the workings of the "Third of September National Assembly of the Hellenes in Athens" and was a Constitutional Pact, in other words a contract between the monarch and the Nation. This Constitution re-established the Constitutional Monarchy and was based on the French Constitution of 1830 and the Belgian Constitution of 1831.

Its main provisions were the following: It established the principle of monarchical sovereignty, as the monarch was the decisive power of the State; the legislative power was to be exercised by the King - who also had the right to ratify the laws - by the Parliament, and by the Senate. The members of the Parliament could be no less than 80 and they were elected for a three-year term by universal suffrage. The senators were appointed for life by the King and their number was set at 27, although that number could increase should the need arise and per the monarch's will, but it could not exceed half the number of the members of Parliament.

The ministers' responsibility for the King's actions is established, who also appoints and removes them. Justice stems from the King and is dispensed in his name by the judges he himself appoints.

Lastly, this Assembly voted the electoral law of 18 March 1844, which was the first European law to provide, in essence, for universal suffrage (but only for men).Despite the fact that Otto accepted the establishment of a Constitutional regime, he was not inclined to enforce it and by breaking both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution he tried to gather as much power as he possibly could. On the night of 10 October 1862 the rising wave of discontent led the people and the military to rebel and to decide Otto's deposition.

Greek art

Greek art began in the Cycladic and Minoan civilization, and gave birth to Western classical art in the subsequent Geometric, Archaic and Classical periods (with further developments during the Hellenistic Period). It absorbed influences of Eastern civilizations, of Roman art and its patrons, and the new religion of Orthodox Christianity in the Byzantine era and absorbed Italian and European ideas during the period of Romanticism (with the invigoration of the Greek Revolution), until the Modernist and Postmodernist.

Greek art is mainly five forms: architecture, sculpture, painting, pottery and jewelry making.

Ignaz von Rudhart

Ignaz Ritter von Rudhart (11 March 1790, in Weismain, Upper Franconia – 11 May 1838) was a Bavarian scholar and public servant who was dispatched to Greece to serve as President of the Privy Council (Prime Minister) during the reign of King Otto.

Von Rudhart had received a doctorate of law from the University of Munich, had authored two books, one of them a statistical survey of the Bavarian Kingdom, which he served as a member of the Council of State, prior to his appointment as Prime Minister of Greece.

When he arrived in Athens in February, 1837, he was received suspiciously by the English legate Lyons (who had been a supporter of his predecessor, von Armansperg) and immediately found himself at also odds with the king over the role of the prime minister. King Otto was committed to an absolute monarchy and was resistant to a powerful chief minister. Von Rudhart had a series of clashes with king, and being disliked by Queen Amalia, his resignation was accepted by King Otto 10 months after he arrived in Greece. Otto served as his own President of the Privy Council until a constitution was forced on him during the September 3rd Revolution in 1843.

Josef Ludwig von Armansperg

Josef Ludwig, Graf von Armansperg (Greek: Κόμης Ιωσήφ Λουδοβίκος Άρμανσπεργκ; 28 February 1787 – 3 April 1853) served as the Interior and Finance Minister (1826–1828) and Foreign and Finance Minister (1828–1831) under King Ludwig I of Bavaria in the government of Bavaria. He was a liberal monarchist and an economic conservative who promoted the unification of Germany with his attempts at a tariff union. Later he served as Regent of Greece for the underage Bavarian-born king and as his Prime Minister.

Munich School

Munich School (Greek: Σχολή του Μονάχου) is the name given to a group of painters who worked in Munich or were trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich (German: Münchner Akademie der Bildenden Künste) between 1850 and 1918. In the second half of the 19th century the Academy became one of the most important institutions in Europe for training artists and attracted students from across Europe and the United States.

Outline of Greece

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Greece:

Greece – sovereign country located on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe. Greece borders Albania, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.

Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games (for this reason, unless it is the host nation, it always leads the Parade of Nations in accordance with tradition begun at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics), Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama including both tragedy and comedy.

Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005. Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the country's other major cities.

Panagis Kalkos

Panagis Kalkos (Greek: Παναγής Κάλκος, 1818–1875) was one of the first Greek architects of the modern Greek state. Educated in Munich, he is a representative of a strict neoclassic style in architecture. He built some of the most characteristic neoclassic buildings, both public and private, of Athens, many of which still survive today.

Russian Party

The Russian Party (Greek: Ρωσικό Κóμμα), presenting itself as the Napist Party ("Dell Party", Greek: κόμμα των Ναπαίων), one of the Early Greek parties, was an informal grouping of Greek political leaders that formed during the brief period of the First Hellenic Republic (1828-1831) and lasted through the reign of King Otto. The parties of that era were named after one of the three Great Powers who had together settled the Greek War of Independence in the Treaty of Constantinople (1832). The three rival powers, the Russian Empire, the United Kingdom and July Monarchy France came together in order to check the power of the other two nations.

The Russian Party had considerable power, enjoying privileged access to the Orthodox Church, the state machinery, military leaders, and Peloponnesian political families; but it was also popular with a significant section of the common people who wanted a strong centralized government to crush the power of the Greek shipping magnates and the rest of the business class, which followed the English Party.

Stamatios Kleanthis

Stamatios or Stamatis Kleanthis (Greek: Σταμάτιος (Σταμάτης) Κλεάνθης; 1802, Velventos, Ottoman Empire (modern-day Greece) - 1862, Athens, Greece) was a Greek architect.

Theoklitos Farmakidis

Theoklitos Farmakidis (born Theoharis Farmakidis; Greek: Θεόκλητος (Θεοχάρης) Φαρμακίδης; 1784–1860) was a Greek scholar and journalist. He was a notable figure of the Modern Greek Enlightenment.

Greek artists of the Munich School

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