The 16th century frescoes in the holy church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Kalampaka (Doctoral thesis)

Λυτάρη, Φανή

The religious frescoes of late-16th century western Thessaly have not heretofore been studied systematically. The evident post-byzantine boom in church construction, and the subsequent development of monumental art are a result of the area’s religious tradition, driven by the monasteries of Meteora, which were a major center of Christianity, and of the privileged taxation status bestowed upon the region of Thessaly in the first half of the 16th century. The conditions formed in the final decades of the century are exceptionally favorable for the decoration of churches in Thessaly. The present dissertation presents the art of the painters mentioned in the donor inscription, Neophytos (son of Theofanes Strelitzas-Bathas) and Kyriazes, through exhaustive study of the church’s wall decoration. Comparative material is chiefly drawn from Theofanes’ previous signed works but also those works in the other Cretan monuments of Mt. Athos, Meteora and the surrounding region. An attempt is made to discover monuments influenced by the art of the church under examination, along with mentions of any new elements for study. The dissertation is organised into eight chapters. The first chapter details the wider historical context of western Thessaly, examines the bishopric of Stagoi and presents the historical timeline and the artistic activities in the region during the late 16th century. The second chapter is devoted to a description of the church’s architecture and an analysis of its inscriptions. The church’s iconographical program is presented in the third chapter. A detailed iconographical analysis is the subject of the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter draws conclusions on the artists’ iconographical models. The sixth and seventh chapters include the conclusions of a study concerning the general consideration of the decoration from a style perspective, and an attempt is made to approach the art of the church’s artists. The eighth and final chapter consists of an attempt to delineate the artistic career of the two painters, whose artistic idiom is defined through the study of published material. Finally, the presence of one of the two is ascertained in other monuments of the region. The painters’ workshop, under the command of the head hagiographer, develops the compositions symmetrically. It becomes apparent that Neophytos and Kyriazes continued the iconographical repertoire of the Cretan school, with a preference for the choices of Theofanes over those of Tzortzes. The artist responsible for the project was Neophytos, who was descended not just from a simple hagiographer’s environment, but who was the son of a renowned artist and major representative of the school. His artistic personality was clearly developed through his father’s art, though he was not content to merely transfer the iconographical subjects as a simple representative of an art form; rather, he took the art one step further. This is an artist worthy of our attention, who compels us to re-evaluate established views according to which art in the late 16th century lacked creative drive and assumed a folk character.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Φιλοσοφική Σχολή. Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Subject classification: Τοιχογραφίες και διακόσμηση -- Ελλάδα
Keywords: Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου,Ναός,Τοιχογραφίες,Ζωγράφοι,Θεσσαλία,Νεόφυτος,Θεοφάνης,Κυριαζής,Καλαμπάκα,Μετέωρα,Dormition of the Virgin,Temple,Wall paintings,Painters,Thessaly,Neophyte,Theophanis,Kyriazes,Kalambaka,Meteora
Appears in Collections:Διδακτορικές Διατριβές

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