Fine Arts

The Minov Family of Zographs: Personalities and Works

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article explores the kinship ties in a family of zographs known under the name of Bundovtsi, who worked during the second half of the 19th century in the South-West of Bulgaria, and the heritage they left behind. In the course of his examination of the Minov zographs and their work, the author comes across new information about the history of the zograph family, which not only provides further clarity and corrects certain mistakes, but also, to a large degree, enriches the notion of the life of zographs during the late Bulgarian Revival. The group of monuments where the zographs’ signatures were identified is located in the South-West of Bulgaria. The author attributes to, and expands the works of the Minov zographs by adding a number of new and so far unknown art monuments. The information and evidence presented of the life and work of the artists from the long-forgotten Minov family fill in some of the existing gaps in the history of ecclesiastical art in this interesting and barely explored region of Bulgaria. 

The Face of God’s Divinity: Some Remarks on the Origin, Models and Content of the Trinity Images of Synthronoi Type in Post-Byzantine Painting

  • Summary/Abstract

    The present text is an attempt to understand and to come closer to that which has been passed down through the centuries as the perception of God as the Holy Trinity, which has found its visual expression in art that in the Orthodox tradition has been transformed into an indivisible part of theology. To this end, one of the variants for the visualization of the idea of the Holy Trinity is chosen that exists both in Eastern Orthodox and Western art with close formal characteristics, but in different contexts: the image of the Trinity of the Synthronoi type.What are the origins of this image, what is its meaning, what were the mechanisms for its spread and what are its basic models - these are the questions that the present text raises, without pretending to be able to answer them definitively.

The Murals of the St. Demetrios Church in Boboshtica: Local Traditions and Constantinople Influences in the Ecclesiastical Art of the Prespa-Korcha Re

  • Summary/Abstract

    The St. Demetrios is a one-nave, one-apse church, which has been re-covered with a gable roof. The murals date from different periods. The first layer, which this study dates to around the last quarter of the 14th century, includes murals on the eastern wall of the naos (the Holy Virgin on the throne, Melismos, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Archdeacon Stephan, the Annunciation, the Ascension), on the western wall of the naos (the Dormition of the Holy Virgin, the Judas’s Betrayal or the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, the Helkomenos, St. Constantine and St. Helena, St. Cosmas and St. Damian), on the church facade (the Donor’s composition, the Baptism of Christ ) and in the entrance - St. Paraskevi and St. Barbara. The other murals in the church date from the 17th-18th centuries. On the western wall of the naos above the entrance there is a one-line inscription, paraphrase the Gospel of Matthew [22:39-40]. The lunette above the entrance of the church represents the Holy Virgin and Child, defined by the rare epithet "The Dwelling-place of the Uncontainable [God]". This is the third such representation in the byzantine art which I know of. The other two are in the Church of the Monastery of St. Saviour in Chora, in Constantinople. This paper has repeatedly drawn stylistic and iconographic parallels with the church of Christ Zoodotes in Embore not only because this is the nearest church in geographical terms, but also because it was probably commissioned by the same donor. Still, I will refrain from advancing the thesis that the two churches were decorated by the same team of painters. The stylistic features relate the murals in this church to the range of monuments in the Kastoria region from the second half of the 14th century. It can be assumed that the painters which painted St. Demetrios church in Boboshtica have also worked in the rock church of the Annunciation near Globochica.

Imperial Adventus and Paul the Silentiary’s Ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia and Its Ambo

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article supports the thesis that the Ekphraseis of Paul the Silentiary (Ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia and Ekphraseis of its Ambo), which are usually studied as official rhetoric descriptions (ekphraseis) or as imperial orations (basilikos logos), are composed as adventus, maybe in honor of an imperial military triumph at a ceremony for the reception of the ruler to the city. Although the main parts of the orations are composed by rhetoric descriptions of “St. Sophia” and its pulpit, expressions standard for the adventus are used, according to the directions of the rhetoric manuals and their reflection in works of art. The obligatory eulogies of the deeds and the virtues of the emperor, however, are substituted by a description of the building as an embodiment of the imperial virtue. Paul the Silentiary praises the emperor Justinian as a victor of the conspiracies and the demonic powers and as a founder and a defender of a Christian empire.

The Iconic Space – Inscription and Transfiguration: the Paradoxical Rhetoric and the Sacred Image in the Post Byzantine Epoch

L’espace iconique ( inscription et transfiguration: La rhétorique paradoxale de l’image sacrée à l’age post-byzantine

  • Summary/Abstract

    The paper examines the treatment of the story through the language of the image in one of the most interesting churches in Moldavia (Romania) – Sucevitsa, as it tries to give more general conclusions about such kind of transcriptions in the proto-Byzantine epoch. As a matter of principle, the abundance of inscriptions, inserted in the image, contains a strong rhetoric connotation. In the first part of the study, the subject of the research is the epigraphic verbosity in the image, as a guarantee of narrativeness – in this way the inscription is examined as a means of narrativeness. The question of the discourse of the image, however, turns into a problem for the iconicity of the written material – the text goes beyond the framework of the narrative in order to turn itself into an iconic sign. Even more paradoxical is this problem in the epoch of the hesychasm – then comes a tension caused by the discursiveness of the sacred image and the hesychast requirement of silence.

Une oeuvre inconnue du XIV siècle: icône de saint Demetrios avec son cycle hagiographique

An unknown work of 14th c.: icon of St. Demetrios with his hagiographic cycle

  • Summary/Abstract

    The fragment of an icon, which has been published here for the first time, belongs to the department “Old Bulgarian Art / Cripta” of the National Art Gallery and has an inventory No. 590. It comes from the church “Holy Virgin” in Veliko Turnovo. Only the right part of a large-sized work is preserved. In the central part used to be painted saint Demetrios on a horse, stabbing his defeated enemy with a spear. In two vertical columns to the left and to the right of the central image eight scenes from the hymnographic cycle of the saint used to be placed. The four scenes in the right column have remained: 1) St. Dimitrios speaks to the emperor Maximilian; 2) Emperor Maximilian and his wife at the amphitheatre; 3) St. Dimitrios blesses Nestor; 4) The martyr’s death of St. Dimitrios. Some of the scenes, especially the second and third ones, have interesting iconographic peculiarities. They, as well as the stylistic marks, indicate that the work was created in the XIV century. As a closest stylistic parallel to our icon, we can point the miniatures of the well-known manuscript Vaticanus slav. 2 of the Manasius chronicle, which was painted and decorated for Tsar Ivan Alexander around 1344-1345. Therefore, the present icon should also be referred to the artistic production from the middle of the XIV century in the capital city of Turnovo. The cult to St. Dimitrios represents an important element of the propaganda of the first Asens, which continues to be maintained and developed by the following Turnovo rulers. The icon we publish here is a product of this political and religious-spiritual context. For the history of the medieval art the work is important mainly because it is the earliest, for the time being, example of including a hymnographic cycle in an icon of St. Dimitrios.

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