German designer and lithographer, Wilhelm August Ferdinand Stademann, was born in Berlin in 1791 and died in Munich in 1873. He lived in Bavaria from 1810 onwards. Between 1832 and 1836 he was in Greece as an envoy of the Bavarian monarch Ludwig I (1786-1868), who had assigned him the role of advisor and secretary of Othon’s Regency (1818-1867). Then he returned to Bavaria. His son was the German landscape painter Adolf Stademann (1824-1895).
Before leaving for Greece, Stademann had worked with one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe, KPM (Königliche Porzellan- Manufaktur: royal porcelain industry) from Berlin, for which he designed images which were imprinted on porcelain objects.
While still in his homeland, Stademann had gained experience in realistic landscape- and monument painting. He developed those artistic abilities further in Greece. In 1835, in the midst of a terrible heat wave, according to Stademann, he completed in Athens a Panorama of the city (Panorama von Athen) after an assignment by King Othon. Its panorama extends to a length of six meters and faithfully depicts Pnyx, the hills of the Acropolis, Hymettus and Lycabettus, the mountains of Penteli, Parnitha and Egaleo, Ilissos, Piraeus, Korydallos, Aegina and Salamina, in ten colored, lithographic plates. Even Argolida is depicted. The artist tried to sketch the place where he was living and the people who live in it, in a simple – yet realistic manner. The point from which Stademann painted the Panorama was the hill of the Nymphs, the center of the Observatory building – as documented in a vignette of his work.
The panorama offers a 360-degree record of the Attica Basin: a panorama of the capital of the new Greek state, which preserves the image that a traveler of Athens saw in the first post-revolutionary years to this day.
The panorama is accompanied by six vignettes with scenes of the Athenian landscape, some of which were designed by the German painter Ludwig Lange (1808 – 1868). Lange was also found as an envoy of Ludwig in Athens, where he collaborated with his teacher, painter Carl Rottmann (1797 – 1850), in the creation of landscapes. The vignettes depict, among others, the area of Kaisariani, the area in Ilissos, where the Stadium and the royal palaces were later rebuilt. The panorama included a map, a list of subscribers with Othon´s name as well, and a text written in French and German. The publication of Stademann’s work piqued the interest of his contemporaries.
Stademann belongs, along with Carl Rottmann (1797-1850), Ludwig Lange (1808-1868), Peter von Hess (1792-1871), the military men and painters Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck (1788-1861) and Karl Krazeisen ( 1794-1878), as well as the architect Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), to the distinguished German envoys of Ludwig I, in Greece, where they created elegant images and works, depicting the Revolution of 1821, the people of the time and the landscape of the liberated Greece as they saw it.
The creation of the Panorama of Athens by Ferdinand Stademann faithfully reconstructs the landscape of the capital, as it was in the first post-revolutionary years, and provides future generations with important historical evidence for the evolution of the Attic landscape through the centuries. SHP honors the painter Ferdinand Stademann for this contribution to Greece.
Sources – Bibliography
- Βιγγοπούλου, Ιόλη (επιμέλεια), Η Ανάδυση και η Ανάδειξη Κέντρων του Ελληνισμού στα Ταξίδια των Περιηγητών (15ος – 20ος αιώνας). Ανθολόογιο από τη Συλλογή του Δημητρίου Κοντομηνά. Εκδόσεις Κότινος, Αθήνα 2005.
- Λεκάκης, Γιώργος, Πανόραμα των Αθηνών, το 1835, http://www.arxeion-politismou.gr/