Voyage pittoresque en Grèce et dans le levant, tome I
The book Voyage pittoresque en Grèce et dans le levant, tome I is a touring book by painter Etienne Rey (1789-1867), with chalcography prints and comments on Greece of 1843-1844. Rey travelled East in 1843, along with architects A. Chenavard and J.M. Dalgabio. He depicted landscapes from the Peloponnese, central Greece, the island of Syros, Istanbul, Troy and the area of Smyrna.
External appearance and illustration
The book Voyage pittoresque en Grèce et dans le levant, tome I is 30 cm (width) x 44 cm (height). It is in near fine condition.
It features a number of chalcography prints and monuments of Greece from 1843-1844. It also includes accompanying commentary.
A trip to the East in pictures
Rey travelled East in 1843 at an advanced age, along with architects A. Chenavard and J.M. Dalgabio. They started their journey from Marseilles and arrived in Greece passing through Italy and Malta. They also visited Asia Minor and Egypt.
In the chalcography prints of the book, Rey captured views of Athens during Otto’s reign. He depicted landscapes from the Peloponnese, central Greece, the island of Syros, Istanbul, Troy and the area of Smyrna.
Rey wanted to hand colour his chalcography prints, but died before being able to do it. For this reason, the book was published 20 years after it was written.
It includes extremely detailed and useful notes. They provide information on the monuments of the time, with great geographical and topographical adequacy, as well as meticulous details.
Etienne Rey: Writer and artist
Etienne Rey (1789-1867) was a French painter. He was one of the first professors at the National School of Fine Arts of Lyon, where he served as a director. He also became a director of the Vienna Museum. He published a guide on the art of encaustic (or hot wax) painting, and he was a member of a number of artistic societies.
A book in the spirit of its time: The Grand Tour
Rey’s trip is part of the wider trend of touring during the 18th and 19th century. Young, wealthy aristocrats from Europe, travelled around Greece. They were accompanied by friends, servants, tutors, doctors, artists and scientists. This type of travelling was called the “Grand Tour”.
In their visits to Greece, the travellers:
- Engaged in nature-watching.
- Admired ancient ruins and monuments.
- Expressed interest in native traditions and behaviours.
- Drew inspiration from Greek philosophy and were charmed by Greek mythology.
Then, the travellers would write an account of their impressions, drawing pictures and paintings of everything they had seen. However, oftentimes they also composed quite complex scientific works.