Internationally renowned painter Jason Roberts traveled across Greece for over a year in order to capture images of the animals, farmers and rural architecture which he believes encapsulate the heritage of Greece.
Titled “Origins – An Artist’s Journey Through the Heart of Greece,” the large project consisted of the artist sketching various images on his journey throughout the country, including animals, traditional architecture, farmers, taverns and olive groves.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Roberts has established a global reputation as a painter. His works emphasize themes from the natural world, including domestic animals and landscapes.
Hosted by Amalthia, a Greek organization dedicated to the study of ancient livestock and domesticated animals, Roberts traveled throughout the country to locate and capture on canvas these rare breeds, which are often threatened with extinction.
The purpose of the project was to portray the richness and diversity of the natural world in Greece, as well as to raise awareness about Greece’s rare farm animal breeds in order to help with efforts in their conservation.
Regions that Roberts visited throughout his journey included areas on mainland Greece and the islands where abundant wildlife could be found, such as Skyros, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Argithea and the monastic peninsula of Mount Athos.
His sketches of animals include the Greek Shepherd dog, the Oulokeratiki Goat, Cretan Mountain Cattle, Kefalonia-Ithaki Sheep and the Skyros Pony. Many of these creatures have been carefully bred for their characteristics over the centuries, according to Amalthia.
Roberts was extremely impressed by the Athonite landscape, citing the unique and varied architecture of the monasteries, some built atop cliffs, its spectacular scenery and the many fruit trees of the peninsula.
The artist sketched and painted a total of 66 different species of animals and took photographs of people interacting with domesticated animals, including a farmer milking his sheep in Ithaca. According to Roberts, he also wanted to highlight the close relationship between humans and wildlife in Greece.
A series of paintings will be created from his sketches and photographs for an upcoming exhibition in Athens. A book will also be written in order to celebrate the rich historical, agricultural and culinary heritage of Greece.
However, due to the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition has been postponed to May, 2021.
A comprehensive guide illustrating Jason Roberts’ journey across Greece can be found on his website.