LANTSAS Vikentios (1822-1902) “Temple of Olympian Zeus”

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Vikentios Lantsas was one of the first teachers at the newly founded Athens School of Fine Arts. His principal involvement was the archeological landscape, a genre that was at its zenith in the mid-19th century. Under the influence of romanticism, Greek antiquities were seen to embody the concept of free spirit that characterized ancient Greek thought and found its full expression in the struggle for Independence from Turkish rule, and hence offered themes of particular interest to visual artists. The works of the painter-travelers that flooded Greece provided Greek artists with the reference points for their own cultural identity. Whatever invoked the ancient world – ruins, monuments, temples – was a verification of their cultural continuum. The two paintings by Lantsas in the Averoff Museum, with their monumental proportions, depart from the romantic approach that characterized such images, which were usually rendered in watercolor. Nonetheless, they are living testimony not only to a glorious past but also to a intimate space of daily life that is defined with clarity and precision by the bright light illuminates the color.