1906 – Corrodi’s nocturnal ascent on Mount Athos

Hermann David Salomon Corrodi (1844-1905) was an Italian artist, based in Rome, who painted mainly Oriental and historical scenes. He travelled a lot in the Orient, was popular in royal circles and even became befriended with Queen Victoria. In the last month or even the last days of his life he made this picture of Athos; the nocturnal ascent on mount Athos. He died on January 30, 1905. So this ascent must have been one of his very last paintings. As a forbearing of his own ascent.

Pilgrims who have made the ascent to the top of Mount Athos, even those who climbed it during daytime, know that Corrodi hasn’t painted it in situ. The landscape, the church and the stairs are a product of his fantasy. He painted it in his Roman studio.  But probably not from sketches he made before, like his Oriental paintings. The hermits hut clung on the steep rock like a birds’ nest is an interesting detail. The seven monks with their lamps and walking sticks lead the viewer to the ascent.

Bas Kamps

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