A trip to Greece during the Turkish ruling- By Evi Routoula

08/09/2014 20:32

I was fortunate enough to be able to see the paintings by Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi at a temporary exhibition that was hosted by the British Museum in London. All the paintings were: drawings, watercolors, lithographs etc having to do with Greece at the beginning of the 19th century. Edward Dodwell was an Irish archaeologist (1767-1832), Simone Pomardi was an Italian painter (1760-1830). Most probably, the two men met in Rome. Edward Dodwell hired Pomardi to imprint his travelling experiences. The two men travelled to Greece which was under Turkish ruling, from 1801 till 1806. During these years they visited Olympia, Delphi, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Corinth, Aegina, Athens, Zante, Messolonghi and other areas. During the whole trip, Pomardi draw more than six hundred sketches and he also wrote a travelogue. This travelogue was written with the help of Dodwell who possessed the necessary archaeological and historic knowledge. During this trip Dodwell also contacted archaeological excavations and he collected small statues and ceramics which today are located at the Glyptothek in Munich.

The paintings present Greece as it was two hundred years ago: Athens a mere village, voivada the local authority, the doctors and the educated citizens wear turbans. Turkish and Albanian women walk around the squares, Turkish pilgrims return from Mecca, the owner of the coffee shop is serving Turkish coffees. In other paintings we see guest to dinner seated on the floor, the servant standing beside them, holding a bowl with water, in order for the guests, to wash their hands, on the round table there is a plate full of rice. There are also many paintings showing landscapes of our country, virgin coasts, long before the cafes and bars took hold of them, castles, mountainsides before the construction of roads.

It is a very interesting exhibitions, perhaps the only one of its kind. The exhibition that I saw in London, was taken to Rome and now it is coming to Greece. It will be presented at the Museum of Asiatic Art in Corfu till 25th September. Perhaps it is a good opportunity for a trip to Corfu.

Translated into English by Stella Chatzi