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The Culmination of Aesthetic and Artistic Discourse in Nineteenth-century Greece: Periklis Yannopoulos and Nikolaos Gyzis

From: Journal of Modern Greek Studies
Volume 20, Number 1, May 2002
pp. 75-112 | 10.1353/mgs.2002.0005


The writings of Periklis Yannopoulos and the Symbolist-Jugendstil paintings of Nikolaos Gyzis, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, constitute two parallel cases in the culmination of Greek aesthetic and artistic discourse, as it had been conducted since the late eighteenth century. The two main strands of this discourse were the place of Byzantium—especially Byzantine art—in the wider (Neo)Hellenic narrative, and the concept of a new, "truly Greek" art, along with the related notion of "Greekness in art." Yannopoulos contributed, more than anyone before him, to the positive reappraisal of Byzantine artistic achievements, and he gave the most systematic and sophisticated exposition, up to then, of the notion of a perennial Greek aesthetic. His aesthetically-defined landscape found visual expression in Gyzis's late work, and both announced equivalent cultural debates and artistic expressions that were to occur in the twentieth century.

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