Colors of Greece: The Art and Archaeology of Georg von Peschke


The Carnival masquerader depicted in Peschke's painting is shown in this drawing. In Dorothy Burr Thompson's diary entry for December 22, 1931, from her visit with Agnes Newhall and Richard Stillwell to visit the Peschkes on Skyros, she wrote "Peschke told of a custom at Carnival—a man wears a goat's skin punctured as a mask with his cape over his head & 60 bells around his waist, with a wife in tatters, comes to each house & greets & jumps up & down making a rumpus. Origin supposedly a poor shepherd with only his bells, taking refuge in the town. At Apokries [Carnival] they dress up more than at any time—a very good time to visit."

Masquerader (γέρος) from Skyros
Masquerader (γέρος) from Skyros, from Annual of the British School at Athens 1904-1905

Traditional homes on Skyros were decorated with wooden furniture and copper and ceramic plates. Decorative arts from the island of Skyros became popular among the Greek middle class and foreign collectors, as this photo from the 1930 issue of National Geographic illustrates; Peschke's paintings of interiors on Skyros (like the paintings of Yero Mourtzis and a woman at her loom) show his interest in the ethnography of Skyros.

A Skyros-Style Country House near Athens
A Skyros-Style Country House near Athens, from The National Geographic Magazine, 1930