Culture

The island of Zakynthos has actively contributed in the spiritual and artistic development of Greece. Important figures of the island influenced the physiognomy of the Greek state in all the areas of art and Literature. Since the ancient times, the island was an important cultural center, due to its geographical position.

The flourishing of the arts started in 15th century with the distinctions of the translator of Homer's Iliad, Nikolaos Loukanis. And in the area of poetry and literature, Dimitris Zinos, Tzanes Koroneos and Pahomios Rousanos stood out. In the same period, works in the area of poetry, essay and prose were printed in Venice and became objects of admire of the Greeks and foreigners. Around 1600, the first Greek Academy was established and in 1815 the Academy of the Free Meridian Islands.
In 19th century, the flourishing of the island took place, with the birth of Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos. In 1864, the National Anthem was created with verses by the poem of Dionysios Solomos and music by Nikolaos Mantzaros from Corfu. After the death of D.Solomos, the Ionian School was founded. Furthermore, the Italian speaking poet, Nikolaos Ugo Foskolos was born and educated in the island of Zakynthos. He later became the national poet of Italy. Apart from poetry and literature, music flourished in the island where Apollo, god of music, was worshiped. The serenades are a special feature of Zakynthos, through which words are set in music. Besides serenades, the inhabitants of the island created 'arekia', the folk song in four parts.

Girl looking at the SeafrontThe influences from the west and the constant change of population helped to develop and flourish the opera and operettas, which bonded the lower-class with aristocrats. In 1815, the first Music School was founded in the island and in the Olympic Games of 1896 the Philharmonic of Zakynthos appeared. Many remarkable musicians that were distinguished abroad were born in Zakynthos. These are Frankiskos Domeneginis and Antonis KapnisisAlong with the development of the music, theatre developed as well. It flourished in the period of Venetian domination and was influenced by the Italian folk theatre of Medieval and Renaissance. Important role played the refugees from Crete. So, the structure, the way of speaking and the acting come from the combination of Venetian Comedia De l Arte and Cretan theatre. So, the theatre started to flourish with the foundation of theatres and performances of ancient drama, Cretan and modern plays by Zakynthian play-writers.

The green landscapes, the blue sea and the dreamy caves influenced the inhabitants of Zakynthos in the area of painting. It is not accidental that many painters, from different parts of Greece, lived in the island. The icons of many churches follow the style of Cretan-Zakynthian School, which was established with the arrival of Cretans in the island, in the middle of 17th century. The famous Ionian School was a strange combination of Zakynthian painting, Byzantine art and characteristics of Italian renaissance. The most remarkable representatives of the Ionian School are, Panagiotis Doxaras, Nikolaos Koutoutzis and Nikolaos Kadounis. Click to enlargeIt is worth mentioning the recent representatives for their personal style, like Dionysios Tsokos, A.and G.Gryparis and Dimitrios Pelekasis.

The recent painters depict not the holly element but the enjoyment of the senses. The art of woodcarving is evident in every church of the island through the wooden icon screens with impressive carvings. An excellent representative of silver carving is the silver casket where the relics of Agios Dionysios are kept. In the area of architecture, the island managed to push forward a special architectural style. The influences from the west, the Venetian domination, the French Empire, the Italian Renaissance, the English state and the Byzantine contributed in the unique architectural style of the island. The mansions of the aristocrats, the churches, the monasteries and the houses of folk people reveal the important role of penetration and assimilation of foreign styles in the areas of design, construction, functionalism and decoration of those buildings.



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  • 29 Jun 2017

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