The Parthenon we know today was built on the foundations of an older Temple that was destroyed in 480 BC by the Persians’ invasion of Greece and destruction of Athens. The Parthenon, like its predecessor, was erected in honour of the Goddess Athena, protector of Athens, and was a symbol of the political, cultural and general superiority of
Athens over the rest of the Greeks of that period. Begun in 447 BC and completed by 432 BC, the Parthenon was the brain child of Pericles, general and politician in Athens at the time, and the democratically governed city of Athens. It was designed by two incomparable architects, Iktinos and Kallikrates, to such perfection that it has been impossible for anyone at any time, including today’s technological age, to replicate the monument exactly. Pheidias, the most famous sculptor of the day, surpassed all expectations with his creative mind and artistic skill to produce the celebrated friezes and sculptures which decorated the temple and represented, among many other ideals, the
themes of Justice over Injustice, Peace over War, Freedom over Slavery.
Unfortunately most of those sculptures were stolen from the Parthenon in 1806 by Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum where they are still housed today. The impressive sculpture of Athena Parthenos, due to its gold and ivory value, was dismembered stage by stage and ultimately disappeared.
No 1 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )
The Parthenon, circa 1998
signed, signed and inscribed with title on reverse
50 x 70 cm
The sun of Attica plays tricks on vision and shapes and creates its own miracles of incomprehensible beauty. On bright days the Parthenon is dressed in unbelievable colours and the eye struggles to cope with the miraculous vision presented by this beautiful temple. It is indeed an inspirational human achievement and it is at times like these that the Greeks turn eyes, heart and soul to the Parthenon for inspiration and new direction for the country. Vasilis Zenetzis observes and studies the Parthenon but does not actually copy it. He is inspired and guided by this wonderful monument to capture, through his inimitable impressionist style, its essence and spirit. He delivers amazing, colourful paintings that will stand for posterity.
No 15 Constantine Maleas (1879 -1928)
The Parthenon on the Acropolis from South East
signed, oil on board, painted circa 1917 – 1920, 21 x 32 cm
Private Collection Athens, circa 1930
Maleas is considered one of the top twentieth century artists in Greece. He was active between 1908 until 1928, which saw his premature death. Born in Constantinople he had his first higher education in Polis before he went to Paris to study architecture. Like many other important artists, art won him over and he became a student of the Impressionist master Henri Martin, whose influence is evident in this painting. Maleas returned to Greece in 1908 and after a few years in Thessaloniki he moved to Athens around 1917 where
he made it his life’s purpose to paint Greece’s archaeological sites and landscapes. As Kotides mentions in his book (Maleas,Thessaloniki 1982- Thesis, Page 254), “ During his whole life Maleas exhibits art with Parthenon as the subject and title”. Maleas left for posterity images of immense importance, painted in Impressionist or Modern style much loved and admired by private collectors and museum curators.
This view of the Acropolis was painted circa 1917-1920 in a clear, exquisite, Impressionist style. The Parthenon stands high in the centre of the painting and is the focus of the work. Embraced by the branches of the tree in the foreground and painted in a soft peach colour, the monument becomes a part of nature and without much exaggeration nature itself. The harmonious earthy colours of The Rock of the Acropolis on which the Parthenon stands, together with Propylaia to the left and Herod Atticus to the right, deliver a masterful painting that is pleasing to the eye and true to the landscape and area around the Acropolis.
No 31 Vasilis Zenetzis (1935- )
The Parthenon on the Acropolis with Stylae of Olympian Zeus from Arditos Hill
signed and inscribed on reverse, painted circa 1996, 60 x 90 cm
This view from Arditos is magnificent. It encompasses so much: the lush vegetation, the pine trees, the Stylae nestling among these, the apartment blocks of modern Athens and dominating the painting the Acropolis and the Parthenon in the distance – a rich panorama!
When the sun is bright, Athens is dressed in beautiful colours of green and ochre from Arditos Hill as can be seen in this painting. The panoramic view from
No 30, Vasilis Zenetzis ( 1935- )
Stylae of Olympian Zeus with Acropolis Beyond
signed and inscribed on reverse, 80 x 80 cm, painted 2003
Zenetzis painted this location several times but never as close to all the last standing columns as in this painting.
Here he succeeds in conveying the age of the columns still standing majestically after two thousand years despite the ravages of time.