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Societ Editoriale ARPANet
Centro Studi
slavo-bizantini
Ivan Dujcev
Biblioteca Ambrosiana Istituto Ecclesiastico
Storico Archivistico
Ministero
degli Aari Esteri
Repubblica di Bulgaria
Istituto Statale
per la Cultura
Galleria Nazionale
di Belle Arti di Soa
Copyright
2007 Societ Editoriale ARPANet
Prima edizione: marzo 2007
ISBN 88-7426-031-7
via SantOrsola, 5
20123 Milano
tel. +39.02.670.06.34
ARPANet@ARPANet.it
www.ARPANet.it
Tutti i diritti su testi, marchi
e immagini sono riservati.
Coordinamento
Paco Simone
Progetto graco
Francesca Fasoli
In copertina
Il concilio degli Arcangeli
Autore sconosciuto
Tempera su legno (sec. XIV)
123 x 76 x 3,5 cm.
Provenienza: Monastero di Backovo
LA TRADIZIONE ORTODOSSA DELLA BULGARIA
ICONE E MANOSCRITTI DAL XIV AL XIX SECOLO
Milano, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
30 marzo - I luglio 2007
Una produzione
per la Cultura
Enti promotori
Istituto Statale per la Cultura
presso il Ministero per gli Aari Esteri
della Repubblica di Bulgaria
Galleria Nazionale di Belle Arti di Soa
Centro Studi slavo-bizantini Ivan Dujcev
Istituto Ecclesiastico Storico Archivistico
presso la Chiesa Ortodossa Bulgara
Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Si ringraziano
Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi; arch. Elena Fontana;
ing. Massimo Introzzi; dott. Boris Danailov;
dott. Georgi Gerov; dott.ssa Aksinia Dzurova;
prof. Umberto Rinaldi; dott.ssa Ljudmila
Dimitrova; dott.ssa Iva Panzeri; Vanya Krasteva;
Dimitar Racev; Emidio Colombo;
gli sponsor e tutti coloro che hanno contribuito,
con amicizia ed entusiasmo, alla realizzazione
della mostra e del catalogo.
Soxxaiio
Suxxai\

Sacci
Essa\s

Caraioco
Caraiocui

21
43
4
6
Te present image of a country is profoundly bounded with its tradition, history and culture.
From todays perspective, when Bulgaria is a member of the European Union its national identity
becomes more valuable and tangible. To be appreciated by Bulgarias European partners, this
identity should not only to be preserved and respected, but also visualised through the best
achievements in the centuries old culture in the Bulgarian lands.
I am honoured to be a patron of the exhibition Te Orthodox Tradition of Bulgaria: Icons
and Manuscripts from the 14th to the 19th Century, on display at one of the oldest and most
respective institutions - the Library Ambrosiana. We regard the opportunity to exhibit Bulgarian
icons and manuscripts in the exhibition halls of the Ambrosiana as an acknowledgement of
Bulgarias contribution to European civilization.
Te debate on Europes cultural diversity, on the preservation of identity and on the pursuit
of inter-cultural dialogue gures high on the European agenda. Te Bulgarian exhibition at a
cultural institution, which has preserved its identity for 400 years of existence and has always
been a media for inter-cultural dialogue, I do consider as an important event for uniting of the
cultures with one and the same historical origin.
Ivailo Kaln
Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister of Foreign Aairs
of the Republic of Bulgaria
9
Notwithstanding the importance of Milan in the history of Christian art, the exhibition of the
Orthodox tradition of Bulgaria, through dramatic icons and seven precious Slavic manuscripts
is majestic. It is part of the collection of Ecclesiastical History and Archives Institute of the Holy
Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church from the 14th through the 19th centuries.
In the age of modernity, the monks of the larger Balkan monasteries continued to copy
and illustrate manuscripts in the medieval style. In this exhibition from the Soa region are
contemporary manuscripts from the Rila Monastery as well as Etropole and Kratovo.
Te decorations are distinguished by ornaments with Byzantine origins; the features of Balkan
art interlaced with Venetian style in Slavonic incunabula and with elements of Ottoman-Persian
art, typical of the Rumi style.
Te collection of icons from the National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa covers, with invisible
variations, an arch of time spanning ve centuries. Besides the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist,
a repeating theme is St. George the dragonslayer, whose heraldic iconography seems to escape the
repetition of Bulgarian art modules. Tis is far from the concept of modernity expressed through
Italian art of the same centuries.
It is a parallel between worlds that are connected to the Christian tradition.
Tis exhibit is the vision of that tradition. Bulgaria recognizes its cultural identity embraced in
Christian origin - both in art and in the social fabric of the region: We cannot say that we are
not Christians.
Vittorio Sgarbi
Councillor for Culture of Milan
12
Within the magnicent framework of Milans Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the exhibition of
icons and manuscripts from Bulgaria is a cultural and artistic event of great impact. A precious
testimonial with scripts and images provides the catalogue here presented.
Te choice of Milan, which is an excellent site to host an event of such importance is surely
not casual but appear as a consequence of the vocation of this city, a symbol and a paradigm
of the proudly ambrosianian vitality linked to its international vocation of which is a generous
interpreter.
Te exhibition proposes itself to diuse through the rich collection of icons and manuscripts
from the National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa and, respectively, from the Ecclesiastical History
and Archives Institute of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the knowledge of
the cultural, artistic and spiritual values of Bulgaria: values related to the Byzantine and Slavonic
tradition of the East which are knitted to those western especially today, when the state is between
the new members of the European Union, to which its history fully belongs.
In between the most signi cant aspects of the following particular review brings interest the
proper continuity of traditions that rooted in Bulgaria since the Medieval, had been then preserved
as Boris Danailov, the Director of the National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa during the centuries
not as anachronism but as a part of the social tension concerning the national identity.
I am convinced that this fascinating century travel through icons and manuscripts from Bulgaria
will mark itself not only for the accuracy of the scienti c work which constitutes its base, but
also and especially for the intrinsic aspect of the east European orthodox tradition theme. Tis
will be a real discovery for many: a moment of high culture which, I am certain, has inside any
reason to attract, to fascinate and to seduce, proposing to the public documents and memories of
an antique age otherwise con ned to the severe pages of the history books.
Massimo Zanello
Councillor for Cultures, Identities and Autonomies of Lombardy Region
Sacci
Essa\s

22
27
Te National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa and the manuscripts from the Ecclesiastical History
and Archives Institute of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church can be dened as a
contact with a centuries-old artistic and librarian tradition.
Te reason lies not only in the chronology of the items exhibited which collocate in a period of
about ve hundred years, but especially in the continuous line of tension as how the civilization
process can be called. Its beginning is marked much earlier with an intensity and dynamics that
can be rarely found during the Medieval - the creation of a young state institution, the Bulgarian
one, in Europe (the beginning is in the year 681), an abrupt and fast passage from Paganism to
Christianity and the creation of an independent church (854). Trough this, in the furrow of the
Christian tradition, the Word or Logos receive a new meaning, but the plastic tradition of the
late antiquity and Byzantium inserts itself into it. In this way the main problem of the culture
which is the coincidence of word and writing, realized during those antique ages is completed
and reinforced by the holiness of the plastic image.
Tis union gives birth to the distinctive stroke of the fundamental exhibitions theme which is
the deep signicance of the tradition and the continuity. By this, based on a system of already
accepted and accessible values and through universal method of communication (religion and
writing, same as the spoken language), the plastic art consolidates in a lasting material formulations
that seem to position themselves outside the time.
Te fact that the Bulgarians today can still read without any special preparation the writings
on the icons and the gospels brings real amazement. It is not less important the fact that the
plastic orthodox tradition continues to live in its full value also during the XIX century, not as an
anachronism, but as a part of a social tension related to the national identity.
Tis is the other name of the cultural identity, the fundamentals on which the basic ideas of
a community can be constructed, of the capability to distinguish from the others and of the
research of the proper dierence, but on the other hand the possibility to penetrate the cultural
and artistic systems in other words to the abovementioned civilization process.
Boris Danailov
Director of the National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa
Tui iiasric oiruooox riaoiriox,
a s\xnoi oi xarioxai ioixrir\
31
Tiiasuiis oi Air axo Fairu
Tis exhibition is comprised of 33 works and is conceived with two objectives. Te rst is the
representation of the progress of the Bulgarian Orthodox art for quite a long period from the
14th to the 19th century. Te second one is to acquaint the Italian viewer with the diversity of
forms within the Orthodox iconography and miniature.
Te earliest works in the exhibition are from the 14th century. Tis is the last time of owering
of the Byzantine art, a period of unparalleled uplift and creative momentum in architecture, art
of painting, iconography, miniature, and applied arts. Te masters of that age revived particular
elements that were founded upon the Classical Antiquity. Tus, the experts dene the art of
the Late Byzantium as Paleologus renaissance. Tis very age is represented with two icons
Te Council of Angels and St. Demetrius, whose artistic achievements are characteristic of that
time.
During the last quarter of the 14th and the whole 15th century, the Ottoman Turks gradually
conquered the Balkan peninsular. Te great Byzantine cultural centres were put to an end
Constantinople, Tessaloniki, and Mistra. Nevertheless, Orthodox art was almost near ruin on the
Balkans, but almost. Te artistic life began its revival during the second half of the 15th century,
when the realities became more stable. Certain artistic schools resumed their activities Kostur,
Ohrid, etc, as well as the monastery scriptoriums (Rilla Monastery, etc.). Te St. Geotge slaying
the dragon icon from Boyana and the Four Gospels of the Kremikovtzi Monastery signature
works of art from that age.
Te sixteenth century revived the classical trends in the Balkan Orthodox art (the St. Haralambos
and Desis icons). Particularly inuential were the representatives of the Cretan school working
on the commissions by the great Orthodox monasteries and bishops centres Teophanis the
Crete, Zorzis, Antonius. Many imitated their art. We are talking about a perfect in the technical
treatment art in which the skills of the Peleologus era co-exist with elements belonging to the
Italian artistic tradition. One of the most prolic scribers and decorators of manuscripts of the
16th century is the priest Ioan Kratovski (of Kratovo) represented at this very exhibition with
one of his Four Gospels.
During the 17th and the rst half of the 18th century Balkan art is dominated by a new
artistic trend. Te means of the art of painting became simpler the line prevails over shadow-
and-light forms, the clean and vivid colour combinations predominate, the proportions and the
32
movements of the gures are unnatural.
Te masters of the age concentrated their eorts on the attaining of greater decorative eect.
Woodcarving is more frequently used in the iconography. Typical of the 17-18th century art
examples are the icons St. George slaying the dragon of the Kremikovtzi Monastery, Forty
Martyrs and St. Pantaleon with scenes from his life, the crucixion head of the iconostasis crown
from Boboshevo, and the rhipidions with the Virgin of Sorrows and St. John the Evangelist.
During the second half of the 18th century and the 19th, this trend gradually faded. A number
of important art school appeared and strengthened their position Tryavna, Samokov, Bansko,
etc, Te iconographers of Northern Greece, Tessalonikim and Mount Athos were also renowned.
Here in the art of the second half of the 18th and the 19th century we are able to recognize direct
or indirect borrowings from the West European art. Tese borrowings aected the decoration
and from time to time Western prints were used as models, for example the Judgement of Pontius
Pilate icon.
Tere are dierent works of the iconography at the exhibition. Some of them the crucixion
head from Boboshevo are an integral part of the Orthodox iconostasis.
Others are dierent by type and function great icons, portable feast icons, domestic icons,
parts of triptychs, and double-sided tablets.
Te exhibited manuscripts are altar Four Gospels. Te altar gospel rests on the Holy table and
represents Christ the Word of God. It is of an enormous sacrosanct importance. Hence its
precious plating and decoration with exquisite miniatures, headpieces, and titles.
Georgi Gerov PhD
Director of Ancient Art Section
at National Gallery of Fine Arts of Soa
37
Tui saciioxiss oi xaxusciiir
as a iiiosiroi\ oi rui oivixi Locos
Te exhibited seven manuscripts are but a small part from the second largest collection of
Slavonic manuscripts in Bulgaria, preserved at the Ecclesiastical History and Archives Institute
(EHAI) of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Te St. St. Cyril and Methodius
National Library is a repository of about 1000 Slavonic manuscripts from the ninth to the 19th
the century. Te collection of the Church Institute of Archives and History could be assessed as
limited as far as the time is concerned in view of the fact that it consists mainly of manuscripts
from the 14th to the 19th century. Te collection spans some 372 manuscripts, which for the
most part are described as liturgical: Four Gospels, Lectionaries, Psalters, Menelogions, etc. Te
Four Gospels were commissioned by outstanding members of the society for personal usage or
more often than not for the building of a church or monastery.
After the downfall of Turnovo in 1393 and Vidin in 1396, Bulgaria had been a part of the
Ottoman Empire for ve centuries and regained its freedom as late as 1878 following the
outcome of the Russian-Turkish war. Te historical realities established since the 14th century
preserved the Late Middle Ages on Balkan peninsular literally until the end of the 19th and the
beginning of the 20th century. Te period is characterized with the religious unication of the
Orthodox people and the art bound with it, as they represented the national identity. Te notion
of a union of the Orthodox people, which in particular had developed since the 14th century
in art, retraced the tendency for tradition and canon preserving of the High Middle Ages. Te
innovations following the Renaissance in Europe and represented by the old print Slavonic books
are on a small scale. Tus, the book had been perceived as the body of the Logos Word of God,
a notion of the High Middle Ages that existed literally until the 19th century. Te manuscript
was still viewed so far as an object of worship, veneration, and admiration, expressing the only
possible truth, and not as an instrument of knowledge.
Even ve centuries after the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, and as far as the
middle of the age of modernity - 20th century - the parish priests and the monks in the great
monasteries throughout the Balkan peninsular continued copying out manuscripts at that all too
often from printed editions in accordance with the mediaeval postulate of the sacrosanctity of the
hand-written word and of the painted icon.
At the present exhibition we have included manuscripts from the 15th to the 17th century created
in the most distinguished centres of learning found mainly in Western Bulgaria Soa region,
38
Rilla monastery, Etropole, Cherepish, Kratovo, etc. Some of these Gospels were commissioned as
altar Gospels for the church and are richly decorated with plates of silver and gold gilding.
On the one hand, their decoration is distinguished for the combination of the elements of
the classical Byzantine and Slavonic ornamenting styles, i.e. the Byzantine (oral), teratological,
Balkan (interlaced), and the introduced with the rst old print Slavonic books from Venice
(1494) innovations. On the other hand, there are the elements of the Ottoman-Persian art with its
opulent ornamental repertory and Eastern stylization displayed in the so-called Rumi style.
Axinia Durova PhD
Director of Slavonic-Byzantine Study Centre
Prof. Ivan Dujcev of St. Cl. Ohridsky University of Soa
41
C
C

44
1.
S. Giorgio uccide il drago
Autore ignoto; 1667; tempera
su legno; 87,3/61/2,3 cm
Provenienza: Chiesa di
San Giorgio, Monastero di
Kremikovtsi.
Licona proviene da un
Monastero che ha per
patrono San Giorgio.
Rappresenta limpresa
pi famosa del Santo
guerriero: la sua vittoria
sul drago. Limmagine
un buon esempio delle
tendenze dominanti nellarte
postbizantina del XVIII sec.:
stilizzazione, trattazione
lineare e piatta delle forme,
preferenza dei toni puri
e chiazze di colori vivaci,
decorazione accentuata.
1.
Saint George slaying the dragon
1667; egg tempera on wood
panel; 87.3/61/2.3 cm
Provenance: Saint George
Church, Kremikovtzi
Monastery.
Te icon originated from
a monastery that had had
Saint George for its paitron.
Te Saint-warriors most
famous deed of valour is
shown his victory over the
dragon. As far as technique
is concerned, the rendering
follows the iconographic
type of the prevailing
trends in the eld of the
post-Byzantine art of the
17
th
century for stylization,
linear-unidimensional form,
preference for clean shades
and lurid colourful hues, and
enhanced decoration.
1.
.
1667.; , ;
87,3/61/2,3 cm
: ..,
.

,
. .
-


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V
, -

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.
45
46
2.
Deisis
Autore ignoto; ne XVI- inizio
XVII sec.; tempera su legno;
129,5/109,2/3 cm
Provenienza: Nessebar.
Tradotto dal greco, deisis
signica preghiera.
Nelliconograa ortodossa il
tema viene associato allidea
del Giudizio Universale.
Cristo il Giudice che
giudica i giusti e i peccatori,
mentre la Vergine e
S. Giovanni Battista
intercedono presso di lui per
il genere umano. Nellicona,
Ges rappresentato seduto
su un trono e vestito da
arcivescovo, come re dei re
e primo fra gli arcivescovi.
Licona opera di un artista
che lavor a Nessebar alla
ne del XVI e allinizio del
XVII sec.
Egli appartiene alla
Scuola pittorica di Creta.
Probabilmente si era recato
a Nessebar dopo aver gi
lavorato allisola di Patmo.
Si tratta di un abile artista,
che possiede un forte senso di
ra natezza del disegno e del
colore.
2.

.; .16-.17;
, ; 129,5/109,2/3
cm
: .


.


.
,
,
.

.



..
.
,

16
17 .

.
,
.

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.
2.
Desis
Anonymous painter; ca. the
end of 16th c. beginning of
the 17th c.; egg tempera on
wood panel; 129.5/109.2/3 cm
Provenance: City of Nessebar.
Desis or deisis (ODCA)
from the Greek word which
literally means humble
petition. In the iconography
the subject is the depiction of
the Last Judgement - Christ
seated in judgement of the
Blessed and the Damned, as
the Madonna and Saint John
the Baptist are interceding
for the human race. Here
Jesus Christ is enthroned and
dressed in bishops vestment,
i. e. as all-sovereign Lord
of the universe and great
prelate. Te icon is a work
by an iconographer who
had worked in the city of
Nessebar circa the end of the
16th and the beginning of
the 17th century. He was a
representative of the Cretan
school and probably came to
Nessebar after he had been
on the island of Patmos. Te
iconograher had been a very
skilled master with a very
keen sense for the renement
of line and colouring.
47
48
3.
S. Pacomio il Grande
Autore: Krastiu Zahariev di
Triavna; 1824; tempera su
legno; 91,5/60/4 cm
Provenienza: Chiesa della
Santa Vergine, Kazanlak.
Krastiu Zahariev uno degli
esponenti pi noti della
grande famiglia di artisti di
Triavna. In questa icona ha
ra gurato S. Pacomio, un
eremita egiziano, fondatore
dei cenobiti. Licona fu
eseguita su commissione
dellassociazione degli
artigiani di passamaneria.
Durante il periodo del
Risorgimento bulgaro (secc.
XVIII-XIX) accadeva spesso
che associazioni professionali
commissionassero
collettivamente una
determinata opera darte.
Nel caso concreto
particolare il fatto che
sia stata immortalata la
stessa arte dei donatori: la
parte inferiore dellicona
rappresenta la produzione
della passamaneria, dettaglio
che non ha nulla in comune
con il suo contenuto
principale.
3.
Saint Pachomius the Great
Khrustio Zahariev from
Tryavna; 1824; egg tempera on
wood panel; 91.5/60/4 cm
Provenance: Te Blessed Virgin
Church, Kazanlak.
Khrustio Zahariev is
one of the most famous
members from a family of
iconographers originating
from the city of Tryavna.
Here he depicts Saint
Pachomius an early
Egyptian ascetic and
founder of the cenobitic
monasticism. Te icon was
commissioned by the guild
of the woollen braiders.
During the Bulgarian
national revival (18-19 c.) it
had been a common practice
for the various guilds to
commission a work of art
on a certain subject. Here
what is of particular interest
is the perpetuation of the
very trade of the donors (Gr.
ktitor) woollen braiding is
depicted in the lower part of
the icon a detail that has
nothing in common with the
main subject of the work.
3.
.

;
1824.; , ;
91,5/60/4 cm
: ..
.

-

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,

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-


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.
49
50
4.
Cristo Pantocratore
Autore sconosciuto; sec.
XVII; tempera su legno;
107,5/72,5/3,8 cm
Provenienza: Tracia
Meridionale.
una delle ra gurazioni pi
diuse di Ges Cristo. Nella
nostra icona il Pantocratore
impressiona con il suo
ascetismo e con la sua forza
espressiva. Il cromatismo
abbastanza povero. Leetto
artistico ottenuto grazie
soprattutto allopposizione
drammatica fra luce e ombra
nellimmagine del Salvatore.
4.
Christ Pantokrator
Anonymous painter; 17 c.;
egg tempera on wood panel;
107.5/72.5/3.8 cm
Provenance: Southern Tracia.
Tis is the most common
iconographic depiction of
Christ. Te ascetism and
the expressive quality of
the icon of the Ruler of all
are monumental. Te use
of colours is rather limited
but the artistic impression
is focused mainly within the
dramatic contrast between
light and shade on the face of
the Salvator Mundi (Saviour
of the World).
4.

.; 17..; ,
; 107,5/72,5/3,8 cm
: .
-

.


.

.





.
51
52
5.
Santa Vergine (ripidio del
crocisso delliconostasi)
Autore sconosciuto; XVII sec.;
tempera su legno scolpito;
54/26/3 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
Su questo ripidio dipinta
la Vergine Addolorata. Lei
testimone delle soerenze
del glio crocisso e tutto il
suo aspetto tradisce la forte
emozione a cui sottoposto
il suo cuore di madre. La sua
lunga quasi eterea gura si
trova in un elegante triplice
arco che simboleggia la Santa
Trinit.
5.
Te Blessed Virgin (rhipidion
of iconostasis crucixion)
Anonymous painter; 17 c.;
wood, egg tempera, wood-
carving; 54/26/3 cm
Provenance: unknown.
Here on this rhipidion of
the iconostasis crucixion is
depicted the grief-stricken
Stabat Mater. She witnesses
the Cruciction of her Son
and all her being speaks of
the supreme sorrow that
grips the mothers heart. Te
elongated and seemingly
otherworldly gure is situated
in a stylish triple arch
symbolizing the Holy Trinity.
5.
. (
)
.; 17..; ,
, ; 54/26/3 cm
..


.


,

. ,



.
53
54
6.
Vergine sul Trono che allatta
il Bambino
Autore sconosciuto; XVIII sec.;
tempera su legno; 23/18,2/1,6 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
Questo tipo di iconograa,
pur essendo uno dei pi
antichi, pittosto raro per
larte ortodossa. Esso pone
laccento sulla natura umana
di Cristo che, come tutti gli
altri uomini, viene allattato
con il latte materno. Licona
opera di un artista del
XVIII sec. che fu attivo a
Salonicco o al Monte Atos.
tipica labbondanza dei
motivi oreali nel trono
e nella cornice dellicona,
che rendono ancor pi
ornamentale questa opera
preziosa, uscita dal pennello
di un perfetto miniaturista.
6.
Te Enthroned Virgin
Galaktotrophousa (Milk-
giving)
Anonymous painter; 18 c.;
egg tempera on wood panel;
23/18.2/1.6 cm
Provenance: unknown.
Tis is one of the oldest
images in the iconographic
depiction but is unsual
for the Orthodox art. It
accentuates on the human
nature of Christ who along
with all the other human
beings had been nursed with
his mothers milk. Te icon
is painted by a master, that
worked in the 18th century
in Tessaloniki or Mount
Athos. Te exuberance of
oral decorations on the
throne and the frame of
the icon is typical. Te
ornamentations represent an
additional decorative eect
to this exquisite work of art,
painted by the cultivated
brush of a master-minituarist.
6.


.; 18..; ,
; 23/18,2/1,6 cm
..


,
-
.

, ,

,
.

,
V
-.


.
-

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-
.
55
56
7.
Santi quaranta martiri
Autore sconosciuto; XVIII sec;
tempera su legno; 32/23,5/2,5 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
Licona rappresenta il martirio
di quaranta soldati romani,
periti nelle acque del lago
vicino alla citt di Sevastia
per non aver rinunciato alla
fede cristiana. Il tema molto
popolare nellarte ortodossa.
Lo e anche la composizione
iconograca in cui i quaranta
martiri formano un gruppo
compatto. Giovani, maturi
o anziani, sono tutti quasi
nudi a tremare nelle acque
gelide. In primo piano ce n
uno che gi perde i sensi con
il compagno vicino che cerca
sostenerlo. Altri si lamentano
del loro amaro destino.
Dal cielo invece scendono
corone, simbolo della loro
vittoria. Lingenuita la
trattazione convenzionale
delle forme raorzano leetto
espressivo dellicona.
7.
Forty Martyrs
Anonymous painter; 18 c.; egg
tempera on wood;32/23.5/2.5 cm
Provenance: unknown.
Te icon depicts the martyrs
death of forty Roman soldiers
in the lake near Sebaste, in
Lesser Armenia who did not
renounce their Christian faith.
Te subject is fairly popular in
Orthodox iconography. And
the very iconographic design,
too. Te Forty Martyrs are
depicted as a whole group.
Young, middle-aged or ageing
all of them half-naked
and shivering with cold in
the freezing waters. One
of them in the foreground
had lost consciousness while
another next to him is trying
to support him. Te rest are
bemoaning their cruel fate.
Crowns, symbolizing their
martyrs victory, descend from
the heavens. Te navet and
conventionality of the forms
handling exalt the eect of
expression of the icon.
7.
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8.
Trinity of the Old Testament
(middle part of a triptych)
Anonymous painter; 18th c.,
egg tempera on wood panel;
33.5/23.5/1.5 cm
Provenance: unknown.
In the 18-19 c. a great number
of triptychs had been painted
but this subject is rather rare.
Here we have the story told in
Genesis, chapter 18, i.e. three
angels visited Abraham and
Sarah and announced that they
would bear a child who would
be the forefather of a numerous
and elect people. In Orthodox
art, the three angels are held to
symbolize the Holy Trinity. Te
angels bless Abrahams table
and the gesture of blessing has
a liturgical symbolism. Te
conditionality of depiction,
great stylization, and linear-
undimentional handling of
the forms are characteristic for
a great number of icons from
the 18th century, which are
described as primitive. Most
of them are painted by masters
belonging to the Tryavna
School.
8.
Trinit dellAntico Testamento
(parte mediana di un trittico)
Autore sconosciuto; sec. XVIII;
tempera su legno; 33,5/23,5/1,5 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
Nonostante nei secc. XVIII-XIX
fossero stati dipinti tantissimi
trittici, il soggetto che vediamo
qui pittosto raro da trovare.
Esso rappresenta la storia,
raccontata nella Bibbia (Genesi,
cap. 18), in cui compaiono
gli angeli che annunciano ad
Abramo e Sarah che avranno
un glio che sara il capostipite
di un numeroso popolo, eletto
da Dio. Nellarte ortodossa
i tre angeli simboleggiano la
Santa Trinit. Essi benedicono
la mensa di Abramo e questo
gesto ha un valore simbolico
liturgico. La convenzionalita
della ra gurazione, la forte
stilizzazione e le forme piatte e
lineari sono tratti caratteristici
di un grande gruppo di opere
iconograche del sec. XVIII,
denite come primitive.
La maggior parte appartiene ad
artisti della scuola di Triavna.
59
60
9.
Te Virgin Eleousa
(Compassionate and loving)
(triptych central piece)
Anonymous painter; 18th c.;
egg tempera on wood panel;
31/21/3.2 cm
Provenance: unknown.
Tis is one of the most
popular subjects in the
iconographic art for the
depiction of the Virgin
with the Christ Child. Te
base chord is the emotional
relationship between the
Mother and the Devine
Infant. Te little and
overwhelmed with love Jesus
tenderly presses close his face
against the face of his mother.
Most probably, the work is by
a master from Mount Athos
and was painted the 18th
century when the leading
iconographers of Mount
Athos had been trying to
revive the almost forgotten
during the previous century
Byzantine tradition.
9.

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9.
Vergine Madre (parte
mediana di un trittico)
Autore sconosciuto; sec. XVIII;
tempera su legno;
31/21/3,2 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
Esempio di una delle
composizioni iconograche
pi popolari nella
ra gurazione della Madonna
col Bambino. Il tema centrale
sono i rapporti di aetto
fra Madre e Figlio. Pieno
damore il piccolo Ges
preme dolcemente il proprio
viso a quello della Madre.
Con ogni probabilita lopera
fu eseguita da un pittore del
Monte Athos e risale al sec.
XVIII, quando i migliori
artisti locali cercano di ridare
vita alla tradizione bizantina,
dimenticata nel secolo
precedente.
61
62
10.
Vergine Addolorata (ripidio
del crocisso delliconostasi)
Autore sconosciuto; sec. XVIII;
tempera su legno; 39/24/2,6 cm
Provenienza sconosciuta.
10.
Te Virgin of Sorrows (Stabat
Mater) (rhipidion of an
iconostasis crucixion)
Anonymous painter; 18th c.;
egg tempera on wood panel;
39/24/2.6 cm
Provenance: unknown.
10.

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.; 18.; ,
: 39/24/2,6 cm
.
63