The French painter and engraver, Claude-François-Théodore Aligny, was born at Chaumes (Nièvre) on 6 February 1798, and died at Lyon on 24 February 1871. From 1860 onwards, he calls himself Caruelle d'Aligny, this change coinciding with his appointment to the post of Director of the School of Fine Arts at Lyon. Aligny studied at Paris, and in accordance with the practice of the period he went to Rome to complete his classical studies. In 1822, before settling in Lyon, he exhibited for the first time at the Salon in Paris. In 1837, Aligny was awarded a first medal and became a Knight of the Legion of Honour.
In 1844 Aligny visited Greece at public expense, where he made the drawing for his work Vues des sites les plus célèbres de la Grèce antique dessinées sur nature et grevées à l'eau-forte par Théodore Aligny. A Paris, 1845 (Views of the most celebrated sites of ancient Greece drawn from nature and etched by Théodore Aligny. Paris, 1845). The work, published in folio, comprises ten etchings with respective commentaries, printed in pairs on separate sheets.
Aligny's Views concerns ten of the most renowned sites of ancient Greece, drawn from nature and engraved on copper by the artist. Thus Aligny gives much information about the state of many ancient places and monuments, including the Acropolis of Athens, the Pnyx, Delos island, Corinth, Mount Pentelikon and the Cyclades, during the first years of the Greek state. Aligny accompanied his illustrations with short comments, which provide certain archaeological details, but which chiefly express the impressions and emotions of the artist himself, and show him to be an admirer of antiquity and a sincere lover of modern Greece.
Aligny's art belongs to a long tradition of classical landscape that derives from Nicolas Poussin. His works may lack life and naturalness, but they are distinguished by a nobility of style. Their power of attraction lies in the thoughtful composition, the calmness of their lines, the rigorous execution, which accords with the ancient ruins. The original works of Aligny are housed in the Bibliothèque National in Paris, and in provincial museums all over France. The edition issued by the Commercial Bank of Greece borrowed the original etchings belonging to the School of Fine Arts in Athens.