The Comedies, Histories and Tragedies of Shakespeare
The rare book The Comedies, Histories and Tragedies of William Shakespeare. Trolius and Cressida is illustrated by Dimitris Galanis, the founder of the art of printmaking in Greece. The publication includes the play Trolius and Cressida by William Shakespeare. It is a satirical drama, taking place during the Trojan War.
External appearance and illustrations
The book The Comedies, Histories and Tragedies of William Shakespeare. Trolius and Cressida is 22 cm (width) x 32 cm (height). It is in fine condition.
The illustrations are woodcuts by groundbreaking Greek printmaker Dimitris Galanis. The impressive cover is decorated with flowers and shapes.
A critique of the value system in the Elizabethan era
The book features the play Trolius and Cressida by William Shakespeare. At the start of the 17th century, ancient myths continued to fascinate Elizabethan England. Shakespeare wrote about the battlefield of Troy in a subversive frame of mind.
The characters, which for many were tantamount to the bravery on the battlefield or the authority of royalty, are depicted in pure moral decay. Arrogant, corrupt, vain and stupefied by pleasures, the courtiers and soldiers maintain an irrational war, which in turn maintains the worst part of themselves.
Shakespeare’s play is neither a tragedy nor a comedy. It belongs in the in-between area of satirical drama; almost impossible to categorise. The debasement and collapse of values brought on by the war are presented with subtle and cynical humour.
The text in the First Folio (1st book) by Shakespeare was edited by Herbert Farjeon, perhaps the greatest British theatre man of the early 20th century. Farjeon corrected some ambiguities in the original text.
The printmaker Dimitris Galanis: His life in a nutshell
Dimitris Galanis (1879-1966) was born in Athens. He studied at the Civil Engineering School of the Technical University, where he attended drawing classes under the great painter and teacher Nikiforos Lytras. In 1900 he moved to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts on scholarship.
His interest in engraving had started to unfold as early as 1907-1909. It was then that he originally started working with woodcuts.
Between 1930-1937 he taught printmaking at this workshop to Greek artists studying in Paris, such as Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas.
The founder of engraving
Dimitris Galanis is considered an important teacher and the undeniable founder of engraving in Greece. He influenced the younger generations of Greek engravers more than anyone.
But his most important gift to engraving was giving it its independence. The decade 1925-1935 was the period when engraving became truly autonomous.
Galanis in the Alpha Bank Art Collection
These are French and Greek publications. For these books, Galanis created:
- Cover pages.
- Small decorative designs, the so-called vignettes.
- Historiated initials and frontispieces.
Galanis’ illustrations had a variety of themes. Even more so, once the printmaker focused his professional activity on book and album illustrations.
The Art Collection also features the floral print Les Marguerites (The Daisies), a rare monoprint by this great engraver.