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date: 17 November 2019

Opizarilocked

(fl second half of the 12th century).
  • N. Yezerskaya

Extract

(fl second half of the 12th century).

Georgian goldsmiths and silversmiths. They were outstanding exponents of the traditional techniques of embossing and chasing in silver gilt (see Georgia, Republic of §V 1., (i)). They worked in a monastery at Opiza (Turk. Bağular) in the Georgian princedom of Tao-Klardjeti (now north-east Turkey), where Beka Opizari may have been Beshken Opizari’s pupil.

Beshken’s work is known only from the silver-gilt cover of the Berti Gospels (Tbilisi, Acad. Sci., Inst. MSS). Two of Beka’s works survive: the cover for the Tskarostavi Gospels (Tbilisi, Acad. Sci., Inst. MSS) and the mounting for the icon of Christ the Saviour (Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.) from the Anchiskhati Monastery in southern Georgia. Both Gospel covers depict a Deësis and a Crucifixion in which the figures stand out in high relief against an abstract background and are framed by vegetal ornament. Whereas Beshken’s figures are distinguished by an archaic severity of form, Beka’s are more sculptural. In the outer frame of the Anchiskhati icon mounting Beka combines modelled full-length and half-length figures with bands of ornate triple tendril motifs to create a particularly fine example of Georgian gold work....

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