The collection of works of Greek art outlines the development of this pictorial creation from its beginnings in the Ionian islands until its most up-to-date expressions. The transition from religious, Byzantine painting to secular painting was realized īn the Éīnian islands; the main character istic, īn the technical side, was the forsaking of egg tempera painting īn wood and the use of oil painting īn canvas, while stylistically the laws and motifs of Western art were adopted. There was a particular flowering of portraiture īn the Ionian islands, but other forms of art such as landscape painting, genre painting and historical painting were also cultivated.
After the founding of the modern Greek state, Greek and foreign artists taught at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Though they had a different education, close intellectual bonds were eventually created with Munich, where the first Greek painters did their postgraduate work. They were occupied with a variety of subject matter, but genre scenes predominated embodying the pictorial expression of Greek life, illus-trating customs and local conditions. The principal representatives of this first generation were Theodoros Vryzakis, who turned toward historical painting inspired by the Greek War of Independence of 1821, Nikiphoros Lytras, who was primarily concerned with depicting life in his homeland, Nikolaos Gyzis who moved through a wide spectrum of expressive potentials, Georgios Iakovides who used childhood scenes as the main nucleus of his painting and Constantinos Volanakis who treated the Greek sea.
But at the same time that a school of painting, influenced by Munich, was being created in Greece, a few Greek painters studied in Paris, residing in the French capital, and despite following the guide-lines of the Academy, gave their own interpretation to the perception of things. Iakovos Rizos was involved with the rendering of female grace, Theodoros Rallis with scenes from the Orthodox East and Nikolaos Xydias with portraiture, still life and genre painting. During this period in Paris the avant garde Impressionist movement developed, but Greek painters remained faithful to the precepts of their teachers with only some nebulous thrusts in the direction of this movement. The only ex-ception was Pericles Pantazis who, after Paris, finally settled in Belgium and became a part of the avant-garde groups there.
At the beginning of the 20th century landscape painting held sway and the interest of painters turned toward the study of light and color. The dependence īn Munich stackened as Paris be came the pole of attraction for the artists of the period. Impressionism was the original influence īn the leading figures of the art of the first half of the 20th century, Constantinos Parthenis and Constantinos Maleas, while Nikolaos Lytras associated himself with the avant-garde groups of Munich constituting the last link with the series of painters in this great tradition. The further development of these painters led to other roads, but always within the framework of the avantgarde movement albeit with a Greek dimension
This generation turned over the reins to the personalities who were called the Generation of the '30s and who managed to combine avant-garde ideas with Greek tradition. The painters Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Moralis and Nikos Chatzikyriakos-Ghikas belong here, while the consequential painter Spyros Papaloukas formulated his own ideas in the interpretation of the Greek countryside.
The further course of Greek painting was to have all the characteristics of modern art as it developed in Europe and America while maintaining its particular character. Some of the most characteristics representatives of that period are Giannis Sypiropulos, Panagiotis Tetsis and Dimitris Mytaras.