Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens


Thomas Hartley Cromek (1809-1873)
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Inscribed on old backboard: No 11 (Temple of Jupiter Olympian Athens)/Septr 1845/Cromeck del.
Watercolour over traces of pencil
36.3 by 49.1 cm., 14 ¼ by 19 ¼ in.

Cromek visited Athens twice, in the summer of 1834 and again in 1845 when he spent two months drawing its principal monuments. The Temple of Olympian Zeus was begun in 174 AD for Antiochus IV of Syria and completed three hundred and five years late by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

`I was delighted by everything I saw at Athens: the colour of the buildings being much richer, and less dark than that of the ruins in Rome. As specimens of architecture, they are universally considered perfect. I certainly worked very hard when able, and I am astonished at the number of sketches, large and small which I made in the course of a fortnight or very little more' (Thomas Hartley Cromek,
Reminiscences at Home and Abroad 1812-1855, August 23rd, 1834).

Cromek was born in London, the son of engraver, and was apprenticed to a portrait painter in Wakefield, Yorkshire. He soon became a landscape painter and lived and worked on the continent, and mainly in Rome, from 1831 to 1849. He built up a successful teaching practice there until 1849 when he was forced home by Garibaldi's threatened attack on Rome