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The Athens Dialogues - An International Conference on Culture and Civilization

Academic Events

Exhibition: Images of Athens through the eyes of travellers

Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens | Foyer, 3rd floor

The books presented in this exhibition belong to the Onassis Foundation Collection. Published from the 16th to the 19th century, in various languages, they convey a diachronic panorama of Athens and its monuments in travel chronicles.

Athens awakens the interest first of Italian scholars as they recover the cultural and literary legacy of Greek and Roman civilization from the beginning of the 15th century onwards. Until the beginning of the 17th century, images of Athenian monuments have remained alive only in the minds of Western scholars. The antiquities of Athens, above all the Parthenon, the Agorae and the philosophical schools of the Academia and the Lyceum appeal to all those who wish to perceive what Athens was like in the time of its glory. The first drawings of Athens are on the whole the product of Western artists’ imagination. In 1674 however, they were succeeded by detailed depiction and delineation of Athenian monuments. The Parthenon, the Theseum and the Library of Hadrian became the objects of thorough study, along with all the quarters and districts of Athens. Travellers interested purely in natural sciences, historians, archaeologists and writers record their journeys and publish editions on Athens, focusing on diverse subjects and completed with topographical maps and drawings of ancient, Byzantine and Frankish monuments.