The Antiquities of Athens  

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"Athens is peerless among the existing monuments of the ancient civilised world. The ruins of Rome may be more gorgeous ; of Babylon, more mysterious ; of Persepolis, more romantic ; of the Egyptian Thebes, more vast; but in all that is interesting to thought and feeling - in memories and associations, deep, affecting, sublime, Athens transcends them all." --The Antiquities of Athens

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Antiquities of Athens and Other Monuments of Greece[1] (1762-1816) is a series of books by Scottish archaeologist James Stuart and British architect Nicholas Revett, documenting the ruins of ancient Athens. Its illustrations compose 5 folio volumes and include 368 etched and engraved plates, plans and maps drawn at scale. They were the first of their kind in studies of ancient Greece. William Hogarth satirised its fastidious depiction of architectural detail in his 1761 engraving Five Orders of Periwigs

Background

Stuart and Revett's project was intended to consist of four volumes, although a supplementary volume also appeared. The illustrations include 368 etched and engraved plates, plans and maps drawn at scale.

Although their French rival Julien-David Le Roy published his book about ancient Greek monuments Ruins of the Most Beautiful Monuments of Greece before The Antiquities of Athens, the accuracy of Revett and Stuart's work gives their survey a claim to be the first of its kind in studies of ancient Greece; for example, Revett and Stuart were the first Europeans to describe the existence of ancient Greek polychromy.

The first volume, in which the authors are described as "painters and architects", appeared in 1762/3. Revett gave up his interest in the project after the first volume, but Stuart continued to be involved until his death in 1788.

The fourth volume appeared in 1816, the year the Elgin Marbles were acquired by the British government.

There were more than five hundred subscribers to its first volume and, although few of the subscribers were architects or builders, thus limiting its impact as a design sourcebook, it later helped fuel the Greek Revival in European architecture. Its illustrations were among the first of their kind and the work was welcomed by antiquaries, scholars, and gentleman amateurs. William Hogarth satirised its fastidious depiction of architectural detail in his 1761 engraving Five Orders of Periwigs.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Antiquities of Athens" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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