The Tombazis family, among the richest and most aristocratic on Hydra, originally came from Vourla (Asia Minor) in 1668. Engaged entirely in shipping, during the War for Independence, the family contributed four ships, the Themistocles, Terpsichori, Kimon, and Leonidas, as well as more than 560,000 drachamas, to the war effort.
Iacovos Tombazis (1782-1829) was unanimously appointed admiral of Hydra’s fleet, a post he held throughout the war. He appointed Admiral Andreas Miaoulis commander in chief of the fleet, foreseeing the former’s naval genius.
Emmanuel Tombazis, Iacovos’s brother, fought at sea under Miaoulis’s command, in his own right commanding the Hydriot naval unit in its expedition against Alexandria, and, a skilled politician, also represented the island in the War Pariliament.
Housed since 1936 in the three-story mansion of Iakovos Tombazis, first admiral of the fleet of Hydra and a notable of the Revolution of 1821, the School of Fine Art exhibits paintings of historical ships and events.
Well-known Greek painter Periklis Vizantios (1893–1971) assisted with the school’s opening, and Mark Chagall once lived for a time in this mansion when he taught at the school.
Now owned by the University of Athens, the building is open only to the school’s students, though visitors may take a peek inside when the school is open.