Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
Υπόμνημα:

Collection of Icons from Vyliza Monastery in Matsouki

The total of fifty-eight (58) post-Byzantine icons from the Vyliza Monastery date from the 15th up to the early 20th century. The collection also includes works by great Cretan painters such as Damaskinos and Emmanuel Tzanes and their work crews which were active in the Ionian Islands and Italy.

A series of icons that are part of the collection is entitled Δωδεκαόρτου (Dodekaortou). These raise the issue of diversity amongst artistic spaces while also expressing a Western iconographic and stylistic practice. The acknowledgement of this diversity must not be limited to the sensory alone because it represents regularities and values ​​that establish elements of historical meaning with a specific cultural direction. The icon that demonstrates lamentation is almost believable, with few variations and whose tone and iconography is of a Mary-themed etching that mourns the dead Christ as seen in Marcantonio Raimondi’s (appx. 1480-1534) icon which is currently displayed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The very existence of the icon confirms the circulation and appropriation of the graven image and its subject matter which operates as a point of reference. Four of the Δωδεκαόρτου (Dodekaortou) icons from the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist (Christ at Prayer on the Mount of Olives, The Judas Kiss, Ecce Hommo and The Resurrection of Jesus) are more or less faithful copies corresponding to scenes from prints by Albrecht Dürer produced in 1508 and 1512. In Vyliza collection if icons, this faithful transcription takes into account the every detail of Dürer’s iconographical formulae representing a departure from the core of Byzantine tradition (typical of the remaining icons in the collection) and a new way of thinking which reflects a different cultural framework of production that explores the possibilities offered by an alien artistic tradition. Because of this new stylistic adoption that represents a tradition other than that of Byzantum’s, it must be assumed that the icons in question were imported into the Monastery as offerings from some western urban centre, in the Ionian Islands, Italy or Austria.

Interestingly, eleven out of the twelve icons of the Dodekaorton are defined by the artistic language used in 16th century Renaissance painting. What is even more impressive in this aesthetic diversity is the acceptance of an aesthetic that exists within the locus sanctitatis. The latter breaks the homogeneity and continuity of the Byzantine “rule” with the arrival of an artistic habitus and its corresponding dogmatism which brings with it a new aesthetic frame of reference.

Therefore, the locus sanctitatis absorbs fragments of artistic traditions alien to those of Byzantium. These elements increase the number of possible choices thus creating a new organisation that breaks links with earlier tradition (as a result of developments in trade and contacts with the Ionian Islands and Italian cities) and demonstrates that the commissioners of these works (with the intention of offering these to Vyliza) had appropriated a new artistic domain connected with a new regulatory framework. These new operational elements of locus sanctitatis constitute, through artistic junctures, a new geography within the locus itself. This geography multiplies the spatial appropriations of alien cultural contexts while endangering the ontological rigidity of the Byzantine artistic ‘rule.’

Browse the collection’s icons