Ralitsa Rousseva

Rousseva, Ralitsa, Assoc. Prof., PhD Institute of Art Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Museum for Christian Art at the Crypt of St Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Ralitsa Svetlinova Rousseva is an Associate Professor at the Department of Old and Mediaeval Art in the Institute of Art Studies (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) and Head of Department „Museum of Christian Art, Crypt of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral“ (National Gallery). She has over 50 publications on the problematics of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art. Some of her main topics are the Bulgarian art from 13th–14th century, monuments of Christian art in Albania, iconography of the Slavic saints. In her latest book Golden Book. Icons from Bulgaria (9th–19th century) are analyzed 100 icons, which traces the development of the icon painting in Bulgaria. She is a curator of the exposition in the Museum of Christian Art and the exhibitions: Icônes et manuscrits bulgares, Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Bruxelles 2002; Bulgarian Christian Art, State Historical Museum, Moscow 2003; curator of the Bulgarian part of the exhibition Byzantium. Faith and Power (1261–1557) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2004; The Bulgarian Christian Art 13th–15th Centuries and the Palaeologan Renaissance. National Museum of History, Sofia 2006; Icons from Bulgaria 13th – 19th Centuries. State Historical Museum, Moscow 2009; The Rejoicing of Prayer. Unknown Icons from the Fund of Crypt. Museum of Christian Art, Crypt of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral”, Sofia 2014 and many others.

Institute of Art Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

The Scene ‘Christ Expels Seven Demons from Mary Magdalene’ in the Post-Byzantine Art

Ралица Русева. Сцената „Христос изгонва седем демона от Мария Магдалена“ в поствизантийското изкуство

  • Summary/Abstract

    The paper deals with several sixteenth- and seventeenth-century mural representations from different Balkan regions, illustrating Christ Expels Seven Demons from Mary Magdalene as an individual scene. The representations can be grouped in two categories based on the iconographic interpretation of the subject. The first one includes those in the Church of Prophet Elijah (1550) in Sofia and churches associated with the work of St Pimen of Zographou: the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Zervat (1603, Albania), the Church of St Theodore Tyron and St Theodore Stratelates in Dobarsko (1614), the Monastery of St Nicholas in Seslavtsi (1616). The iconography of these four monuments is as a whole very reminiscent of other scenes of healings by Christ. The scene is placed in the context of the Pentecostarion cycle. The second group includes monuments painted by the artists from Linotopi, especially by Nicholas: the Monastery of the Dormition in Spilaio near Grevena (1649); the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Dryovouno (1652) and the Church of St Demetrius in Palatitsion (1570; 17th century). The general iconography here reminds of the healings of demon-possessed, while the iconographic characteristics of Mary Magdalene are akin to those of St Mary of Egypt. The scene is placed among those illustrating the Miracles and Parables.
    In the Hermeneias of Dionysios there is no description of the scene, although it is included as a title in Πήγαι in the Divine Works and Miracles of Christ. Probably Dionysios of Fourna was familiar with representations on the subject. For the time being we can only assume that a representation of this scene has existed before 1550, i.e. before it was painted at the Monastery of Iliyantsi.

The Christological Cycle in the Naos of the Prophet Elijah Church (1550) in Sofia: Non-Traditional Elements and Athonite Influences

Христологичният цикъл в наоса на църквата „Св. пророк Илия“ (1550 г.) в София: нетрадиционни елементи и светогорски влияния

  • Summary/Abstract

    The paper is a continuation of the article “The Last Judgment Scene in the Prophet Elijah Church (1550) in Sofia: Untraditional Elements and Athonite Influences” (Rousseva 2020) and analysed the frescoes in the naos of the church. There is a problem with the overall iconographic programme in the naos: the obligatory scenes illustrating the Annunciation, the Transfiguration and Pentecost are absent, but there are illustrations in separate scenes of secondary and rarely encountered episodes. The scenes in the naos provide a wide field for interpretation, as it is ‘mediate’ between the art of Macedonia of the 14th–15th century and the art of the Cretan school of the 1530s and the 1540s. Beyond the large monasteries of Mount Athos, the island in the Lake of Ioannina and the Meteora, the murals in the Iliyantsi are among the first where the “new” scenes and images are interpreted, and in some respects, the first monument, e. g the kneeling Virgin in the scene of the Nativity, the Flagellation, The Apostles at the Grave has been included. For the first time in a Bulgarian church are illustrated the Sundays of the Pentecostarion. Of the works published so far, the scene Christ expels seven demons from Mary Magdalene is the earliest example in Balkan art. There are visible similarities of the scenes in the naos with the later examples, the work of the atelier of St Pimen. His teacher, Tomas, could possibly have worked at the church in Iliyantsi.

The Last Judgment Scene in the Prophet Elijah Church (1550) in Sofia: Non-traditional Elements and Athonite Influences

Сцената Страшния съд в църквата „Св. пророк Илия“ (1550) в София: нетрадиционни елементи и атонски влияния

  • Summary/Abstract

    The composition of the Last Judgment in the church of Prophet Elijah (1550) in Iliyantsi (Sofia) was the first in Bulgaria in its new, thematically expanded model introduced by the Cretan school in the monasteries on Mount Athos and on the island in the Ioannina lake (1530s–1540s). Just several years later, the new elements such as the Dream of Daniel and the image of the poor man were included. The artist has not only transferred and interpreted the latest novelties for the 16th century, but has also added to and enriched the picture of the Last Judgment with unique images such as the personifications of the planets and the Zodiac, images of the prophets David and Solomon, the Heavenly Jerusalem and the conversation of the Theotokos with Archangel Michael in heaven. The image of an icon of Christ Pantokrator at the scales with sins also remains without a parallel and difficult to interpret. The numerous novelties in the iconography of the Iliyantsi church, introduced for the first time several years earlier on Mount Athos, may only be due to very active and direct relations between Sofia and Mt. Athos during the 16 th century.

    Сцената Страшния съд в църквата „Св. пророк Илия“ (1550) в София:
    нетрадиционни елементи и атонски влияния
    Ралица Русева

    (Институт за изследване на изкуствата при БАН, София, България)

    Композицията на Страшния съд в църквата „Св. Пророк Илия“ (1550) в Илиянци (София) за първи път в България представя нов, тематично разширен иконографски модел, въведен от Критската школа в манастирите на Света гора и на острова в Янинското езеро през 30-те – 40-те години на ХVІ в. Само няколко години след това в Илиянци се включват новите елементи като Сънят на пророк Даниил и образът на сиромаха. Зографът не само пренася и интерпретира последните нововъведения за XVI в., но прибавя и обогатява картината на Страшния съд с уникални образи като тези на персонификациите на планетите и зодиакалните знаци, образите на пророците Давид и Соломон, на Небесния Йерусалим и разговора на св. Богородица с архангел Михаил в Рая. Без паралел и трудно за разтълкуване остава изображението на икона на Христос Пантократор, поставена върху везните за измерване на греховете.
    Стилово живописта върху фасадата на Илиянската църква може да се разглежда като отделен паметник от стенописите в наоса. В иконографско отношение обаче, цялостната програма на наоса също е белязана от последните нововъведения на Критската школа. Стенописите от 1550 г. в Илиянския манастир разгръщат широко поле за интерпретация, тъй като паметникът е „междинен“ – в него се наслагват две художествени тенденции: първата е свързана с живописта на Охридско-Костурския регион от ХІV–ХV век, а втората представя новите явления в балканската живопис от 30-те – 40-е години на ХVІ в., дело на представителите на Критската школа. Множеството нововъведения в иконографията в Илиянската църква, които за първи път са реализирани няколко години по-рано на Света гора, могат да се дължат само на много активни и директни връзки между София и Света гора.
    Живописта от 1550 г. в Илиянската църква е основен средищен паметник между изкуството в светогорските манастири и по-късните паметници от Западна България и Северна Македония от края на ХVІ и началото на ХVІІ в.


The Murals of the St. Demetrios Church in Boboshtica: Local Traditions and Constantinople Influences in the Ecclesiastical Art of the Prespa-Korcha Re Scripta & e-Scripta vol 5, 2007 floyd Mon, 12/24/2007 - 15:17

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.

Subject: Fine Arts Performing Arts Kostur-Ochrida region Stylistic analyisis of iconography St. Demetrios Church in Boboshtica Eastern Orthodox murals in Albania
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