Why does Hellenic Auctions specialize in Greek Art from the 19th and 20th centuries? The reason is simple. It is also incredibly rich, delightful, and profound.
Everyone knows that the history of Greece has its share of breaks. The Eastern Roman Empire, which broke off from the Western Empire in 333 endured a thousand years longer than its counterpart. Then the Ottoman Empire kept Greece away from the artistic currents that blossomed in Western Europe for some 500 years.
In 1824, when Greece finally achieved independence, its artistic scene would execute an almighty leap, going directly from monastic art and religious imagery to Romanticism and neo-classicism. No small matter.
For most of the 19th century, the themes that dominated were linked to the Greek political renaissance; just as the Phoenix reborn from its own ashes was the coin of the Greek state and the symbol thereof as well, so too were antique themes, inspired by artists of the School of Munich.