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Drawing, Parthenon at Night, Athens

This is a Drawing. It was created by Frederic Edwin Church. It is dated April 1869 and we acquired it in 1917. Its medium is brush and oil, black chalk on thin cream paperboard. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Church was on the Acropolis when a pyrotechnical display was staged for the king and queen of Greece. In this oil sketch, Church captures a dramatic moment when the fireworks reflect on the Parthenon.
The museum holds the largest collection of Frederic E. Church objects in the world. Donated by the artist’s son, Louis P. Church, the gift was solicited by Charles W. Gould, a museum trustee, and by the painter Elliot Clark, who acted as an agent for the Hewitt sisters. The Parthenon oil sketch on display was likely painted in the studio after a quick graphite study that Church executed (with color notations) while observing the fireworks display. The black and white sketch is also included in the Church collection.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Hauntingly Beautiful: Frederic Edwin Church’s Parthenon Sketch .

This object was donated by Louis P. Church. It is credited Gift of Louis P. Church.

  • Frieze (France)
  • block-printed and stenciled on machine-made paper.
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.
  • 1931-45-80

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Its dimensions are

32.9 × 41.4 cm (12 15/16 × 16 5/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, Parthenon at Night, Athens; Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900); USA; brush and oil, black chalk on thin cream paperboard; 32.9 × 41.4 cm (12 15/16 × 16 5/16 in.) ; Gift of Louis P. Church; 1917-4-671

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Parthenon at Night, Athens |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 April 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>