Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
Υπόμνημα:

The Monastery of Vyliza’s Sanctuary

The Monastery of Vyliza’s Sanctuary is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos where all of the main characteristics of a family workshop’s artistic production from the Katsanochoria near Ioannina, specifically Koritiani, are evidenced. Painters from Katsanochoria, are active in the 18th and 19th century Epirus, Thessaly and western Macedonia deepening our knowledge on artists’ workshops originallt from Epirus’ mainland settlements, to the extent that the Byzantine painting tradition was preserved well into the 19th century and adopted morphological elements that modifies and enriched the traditional aesthetic categories of Byzantine painting. Judging from signed works, we assume that the painters from the Katsanochoria area are originally from the settlements of Lozetsi, Fortosi, Koritiani and Plesia. Their earliest dated, by inscription, work goes back to 1730 and their most recent dates back to 1865. The churches they paint are located in a geographic area that covers what are known today as modern prefectures: Larisa, Grevena, Kozani, Ioannina, Preveza and Arta. Painters from Lozetsi are active between 1730 and 1768 and present the greatest degree of mobility covering an even wider geographic area. Painters from Fortosi were popular during the period between 1734 and 1843 and mostly travelled in the areas surrounding their place of origin, the Katsanochoria, a cluster of settlements in Tzoumerka. Work by painters from Koritiani appears in churches in the prefectures of Ioannina and Preveza between 1788 and 1865. Finally, painters from Plesia are mostly engaged in icon painting and remain active in Tzoumerka for a decade (1842-1852).

The paintings created by artists from Katsanochoria are especially interesting because during the 18th and 19th centuries they incorporated elements and teachings of modern European culture thanks to a process of osmosis between the area, its surroundings and the new socio-economic realities of the period. Such facts are aesthetically important and equally served to widen the choice of subject matter and style and expanded the decorative repertoire. This new perspective reflects on the reality of a historical transition and the presence of cross-cultural contact. Thanks to the teachings of western art, the organisation of the painted space loses its purely spiritual dimension and turns towards the aesthetic experience. Gradually, components of a secularised reality were incorporated into artistic experiences and became subject matters. The close trade contacts between the Epirote mainland and the commercial and industrial centres of Italy and the Balkans facilitated the spread of a new trend. The morphological elements that, from the 18th century onwards, changed gradually the character of post-Byzantine art demonstrate a complex social reality which is interweaved in a different sort of world connection. Therefore, these elements contribute to the promotion of a dialogue between art and life and to the painter’s understanding of contemporary cultural processes.

The sanctuary’s gold covered inscription is found over the western entrance to the church. Records show that the murals, which were completed in November 1793, were financed by abbot Ioannikios and monks Arsenios, Kallinikos and Klemes. According to the same inscription, priests Konstantinos and Stergios worked on the sanctuary. Their works first appeared in 1788 in the Church of Saint Vlasios in Kotortsi settlement near Ioannina and were assisted by Konstantinos’ children, Christodoulos and Ioannis. A few years later, the same workshop would contribute to the murals of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Lelovo in Preveza (1797) and those of the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in the Varlaam settlement in Ioannina (1798).

 

See the murals of the Monastery’s Sanctuary

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