A Fascination with Greece: The Palace of Knossos

Knossos scarf painting by Mariano Fortuny

A lot can be learned from the sketchbook of a master. A scrap from 1906 gives us a glimpse into Fortuny’s the process and influence.

In 1905, Sir Arthur Evans’ completed his historic archeological dig of the palace of Knossos in Greece — this is Fortuny’s sketch of the discovered pieces.  It seems Fortuny, a known Grecophile, was among the first to study and sketch the decorative patterns of these vases. Fortuny’s Knossos motif is found in many of his textile patterns. 1906 was also the year of Fortuny’s first venture into fashion with the Knossos Scarf.

It is interesting to consider that while Fortuny’s Grecian influence is a deeply historic one, the reference to Knossos was, in fact, also a reference to a pivotal contemporary event — the new discovery of an ancient empire was a landmark in history, science and art.  As always, Fortuny’s interpretation is at once classical and modern.


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