Excavations, Discoveries, Travel Accounts
Italy, Dalmatia, Greece, and the Levant
The second third of the 18th century was marked by intensification of research into antiquity, along with an increase in illustrated publications. The excavations at Herculaneum (begun in 1738) and Pompeii sparked curiosity throughout Europe, giving birth to lavishly illustrated albums that had a decisive influence not just on scholarly research but also on the history of taste. Such publications were partly responsible for the "neoclassical" style that swept across Europe. From the mid 18th century onward, traveling antiquarians went to places such as Athens, Baalbek, and Palmyra, returning with a wealth of information and drawings on which richly illustrated books were based.