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Article

A. Dean McKenzie

(fl c. 1290–1311). Byzantine painter active in Macedonia. ‘Astrapas’ (Gr.: ‘lightning’) is a pseudonym, and some scholars doubt that it refers to a particular artist. Although the name Astrapas appears together with the name Michael on the wall painting (1295) in the church of the Mother of God Peribleptos in Ohrid, it is not clear whether the two names belong to one and the same artist or two different people. It is also not possible to distinguish the style of Astrapas from that of Michael and Eutychios who also painted frescoes there. The signature of ‘Astrapas’ as painter appears in the exonarthex of the church of the Mother of God (Sveta Bogorodica) Ljeviška (1307–9) in Prizren, where his work has been associated with that of the so-called ‘Master of the Prophets’. Astrapas has also been credited with the frescoes (c. 1311) in the church of the Ascension in the monastery of Žića, in Serbia. His style of painting is characterized by dramatic composition and lively, lifelike figures achieved through the use of classicizing three-dimensional techniques and a palette of warm colours against dark blue backgrounds. His nationality has been disputed, some scholars believing him to be an itinerant Greek artist recruited from Thessaloniki into the service of the Serbian king ...

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Fernando Marías

[Theotokopoulos, Domenikos [Dominico ; Dominikos ; Menegos ]]

(b Candia [now Herakleion], Crete, c. 1541; d Toledo, April 7, 1614).

Greek painter, designer, and engraver, active in Italy and Spain. One of the most original and interesting painters of 16th-century Europe, he transformed the Byzantine style of his early paintings into another, wholly Western manner. He was active in his native Crete, in Venice, and Rome, and, during the second half of his life, in Toledo. He was renowned in his lifetime for his originality and extravagance and provides one of the most curious examples of the oscillations of taste in the evaluation of a painter, and of the changes of interpretation to which an artist’s work can be submitted.

El Greco appears to have belonged to a Greek Orthodox—more than to a Catholic Greek—family of officials who worked for the Venetian colonial service; his father was a tax-collector, and an elder brother combined this activity with that of trader and privateer. It is not known with whom El Greco trained, although ...

Article

Konjit Seyoum

(b Addis Ababa, 1949).

Ethiopian painter active in Switzerland. He graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts in 1971, comparing Byzantine and Ethiopian church paintings. He earned his BA (1972–6) at the Art Academy of Frankfurt am Main and moved to Switzerland in 1976, where he became a member of the Society of Swiss Painters, Sculptors and Architects (GSMBA). In 1983 he studied contemporary African-American art in Washington, DC. His work reflect his interest in abstraction, mural painting and magic scrolls as well as the influence of Gebre Krestos Desta and Skunder. Inspired by music, deep emotions, his surroundings and current events, his mostly acrylic paintings deal with social and political issues. His canvases are immensely rich in colour, filled with lines, rows of dots, circles, sparkling bubbles, magic scrolls, masks, birds, animals and rootlike creatures (e.g. Roots, 1996). Often Hiwet divides a painting with a crosslike form to create four distinct spaces, each with its own character and intensity but at the same time joined in one unique work forming a central image. He has exhibited in Ethiopia, Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, Sweden and the USA....

Article

Evita Arapoglou

(b Ayvalık, Turkey, Nov 8, 1895; d Athens, July 13, 1965).

Greek painter, printmaker, hagiographer, and writer. An ardent believer in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine tradition, he left Ayvalık in 1913 to study painting at the School of Fine Arts in Athens. His studies were interrupted by World War I, during which he travelled to Paris with Spyros Papaloukas; he returned to Ayvalık in 1919, but after the Greco-Turkish War of 1922 he settled in Athens, where he spent the rest of his life. The Asia Minor disaster had a profound impact on his development in that he devoted himself to Byzantine iconography as, in his view, the genuine expression of the Greek spirit.

Working consistently throughout his life as a painter and writer, from 1930 he based his themes almost exclusively on Greek traditions, using an unpretentiously simple and direct language in both media. His work included small panel paintings (mainly icons and portraits), book illustrations, miniatures, drawings for mosaics and wood sculptures, lithographs, woodcuts, and frescoes in Greek Orthodox churches, for example, for St George in Kypseli, Athens (...

Article

John Richards

[Deodata; Deodatus]

fl Lucca, c. 1280; d before 1331).

Italian painter. He was an eclectic and apparently prolific artist whose works record the transition from Italo-Byzantine painting of the 13th century to the Giottesque milieu of the 14th. They also indicate the importance of Florentine styles for Lucchese painting in his time. The earliest work attributed to him is a Crucifix with a living Christ (c. 1280; Pisa, Mus. N. S Matteo), and if this attribution is correct it suggests that his early development was influenced by Berlinghiero Berlinghieri. Deodato was probably the ‘Datuccius Orlandi’ documented in 1284, and in 1288 he signed a richly ornamented Crucifix for S Cerbone, Lucca (Lucca, Villa Guinigi). This was evidently strongly influenced by Cimabue, for example in the way the hair spills from the (rather larger) head on to Christ’s shoulder, although the figure of the dead Christ has none of Cimabue’s monumentality. The style is linear, largely devoid of chiaroscuro though not without grace, and the modelling is barely structural. Some attempt has been made to reproduce the translucent drapery of the Christ of Cimabue’s later Crucifix (Florence, Santa Croce), but the swaying body keeps closer to the axis of the apron than is the case with Cimabue’s versions. The terminal figures of St John and the Virgin are seen in three-quarter length....

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

(fl c. 976–1025).

Byzantine painter. The name ‘Pantoleon zographos’ (Gr.: ‘painter’) appears next to 79 of the 430 miniatures in the Menologion of Basil (976–1025) (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, MS. gr. 1613). Pantoleon worked in Constantinople (now Istanbul), where he painted miniatures and icons and, according to a Life of St Athanasios the Athonite, witnessed a miraculous manifestation of that saint while he completed a commission for the Emperor. The Life reports that a certain Cosmas saw an icon of St Athanasios painted by Pantoleon and wanted one of his own. The owner agreed to find him a duplicate based on the original icon while Cosmas waited. When the owner arrived at Pantoleon’s shop to place the order the artist was perplexed, claiming that the day before he had received the same request from Athanasios, and that the icon was already completed. Pantoleon had experienced an ‘overshadowing’, having been visited by divine Grace....

Article

William M. Voelkle

Portable altar–reliquary (New York, Morgan Lib.), made c. 1156 for the Stavelot Abbey in the Ardennes, Belgium and decorated with both Mosan and Byzantine enamels (see fig.). The reliquary is named after the Benedictine abbey headed by Wibald of Stavelot, its enlightened abbot from 1130 to 1158. It is the first of a series of Mosan reliquary triptychs containing portions of the True Cross. Of these, only the Stavelot Triptych contains scenes from the life of Constantine and the legend of the finding of the True Cross by Empress Helena, his mother. Although two commissions by Wibald are documented (the St Remaclus Retable, destroyed during the French Revolution, and the Head Reliquary of Pope Alexander of 1145; Brussels, Musées Royaux A. & Hist.), the Stavelot Triptych is not. Wibald may have been given both the cross relic and the two small Byzantine enamel triptychs displayed on the centre panel of the Stavelot Triptych during his diplomatic mission (...

Article

G. I. Vzdornov

[Rus. Feofan Grek]

(b c. 1335; d c. 1410).

Byzantine painter, active in Russia. Only those works he produced on Russian soil have survived and he is therefore included in the history of Russian as well as Byzantine art. He is one of the few 14th-century artists in Russia about whom there is reliable documentary evidence. According to the chronicle sources he painted the church of the Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazheniye) at Novgorod in 1378 and three churches in the Moscow Kremlin: the Nativity of the Virgin (Rozhdestvo Bogoroditsy; 1395), the cathedral of the Archangel Michael (Arkhangel’sky; 1399) and, with Andrey Rublyov and Prokhor from Gorodets, the cathedral of the Annunciation (Blagoveshchensky; 1405); none of the paintings in these Moscow churches survives. The richest source of biographical material is a 17th-century copy of excerpts from a letter (c. 1415; see Vzdornov, 1983) from the monk and hagiographer Epiphanius the Wise (Premudry; d c. 1420) to Kirill, abbot of the monastery of the Saviour (Spassky) in Tver’. He describes the activities and working methods of Theophanes while in Moscow, thus confirming the authenticity of the chronicles’ information. He writes that Theophanes was of Greek origin and, before coming to Moscow, had worked in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Chalcedon, Galatia, Kaffa (now Feodosiya) in the Crimea, Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod, and who painted over 40 stone churches. The letter relates that in addition to the three churches in the Moscow Kremlin, Theophanes painted the state treasury of Prince ...