In modern Greek art as a whole, the landscape has been a constant source of inspiration, a point of reference, and a launch pad for experimentation. During the 19th century, and also the 20th, seascape painting stands out in landscape art. The sea, the magnificence of nature, the coastal landscape with human presence and activity, depictions of the sea associated with historical events and war scenes, the life of Greek seamen make up the various thematic aspects of marine painting and confirm the potential of the liquid element as a multifaceted stimulus, which is handled by artists with particular craftsmanship.
After the turn of the 20th century, modern Greek art shifts its gaze to the particular atmosphere generated by countryside and city sceneries. Greek nature is best revealed and interpreted anew by the artists, as the countryside and its light take centre stage in the exploration of the Greek identity but also of innovation and Modernism.
Following suit, landscape painters of the inter-war period as well as representatives of the so-called Generation of the Thirties look into the way in which Greek tradition, the Greek natural and inhabited landscape, provide a rhythm according to which domestic heritage can move on in tandem with modern art and the teachings of avant-garde. The Collection contains also a number of prints by artists who chose to represent landscapes, retaining an essential figurativeness in their artistic idiom, but sometimes also incorporating elements that allude to modernist perceptions.
From the 1950s onwards, Greek landscape art has continued to evolve, driven by artists devoted, for the most part, to this genre and its themes, leaving their own personal mark on Greek landscape art. In parallel, other painters who were more strongly inclined to abstraction have chosen to define the landscape through colour, rhythm, movement and stylisation. Starting from the 1980s, the country’s artists have been exploring traditional as well as novel avenues: the natural landscape is approached as a theme for nostalgic contemplation or environmental concern, while the city remains a setting for recording the pulse of contemporary everyday reality.