Hydra Center of Artistic Creation

Hydra as an Inspiration for Artists: Hydra is considered one of the most important centers of artistic creation in Greece. Since the 1950s, Hydra has hosted a plethora of renowned personalities of the arts and letters, and international and Greek artists who played their part in making the island a unique destination.

Hydra was a true inspiration for many artists, including the famous painter Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, a multi-talented man whose artistic skills were apparent from a young age. The memories of his childhood in Hydra played a major role in his first works which combined the elements of cubism with nature, light, and Greek architecture. Today, his works are hosted in world-famous galleries and museums. Some of his paintings are exhibited in his house, now called the Ghika Gallery, which is a branch of the Benaki Museum in Athens.

The island also inspired George Seferis, one of the most important Greek poets and a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Besides being a famous poet, Seferis was also an amateur photographer who captured places and people. Through his lens, we can see the beautiful Hydra as it was back in the 1940s. The first surviving photo from Seferis' collection depicts the poet with Henry Miller, one of the most famous American writers of the 20th century, laughing at the camera, while another shows a detail of a Hydrian house.
Henry Miller also fell in love with the landscape of Hydra and spent much time on the island. Miller gives a detailed account of his Greek travels in one of his books The Colossus of Maroussi.

Poet Odysseas Elytis was greatly inspired by the beautiful backdrop of Hydra, too. One of his most famous poems, titled The Dolphin Girl, is dedicated to the island.

However, the artist who is probably the one most intertwined with Hydra and made the island world-famous is Leonard Cohen. The Canadian singer bought a house on the island at the age of 26, before becoming the legend we all now know. It was there where he met his future wife and muse.
Leonard Cohen's house still stands and is now owned by his family. The locals have constructed a Leonard Cohen memorial bench 800 meters away from his former residence.