The painter and the Plunder of the Acropolis

Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1754–1821) was hailed during his lifetime as one of the most gifted of all living landscape artists and his exquisitely crafted works were eagerly sought by collectors. But within a few years of his death his reputation descended into an obscurity from which it has only recently begun to re-emerge. His name will still be unfamiliar to all but a few specialists, a neglect which this exhibition, the first ever devoted to the artist, aims to redress. Lusieri was one of very few Italian artists to have adopted watercolour as their favoured medium. From the outset his work exhibits the meticulous detail, precision and faultless perspective that remained the hallmarks of his style throughout his career, combined with a panoramic breadth of vision and an astonishing ability to render brilliant effects of light. The latter part of Lusieri’s career was spent mainly in Athens as Lord Elgin’s resident artist and agent. In that capacity he was closely involved in supervising the removal and shipping of the celebrated marbles from the Acropolis, now in the British Museum.