The Iconographic Types of St Haralampos and St Photini from the Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi: Between Authorship and Tradition Cover Image
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Иконографските модели на св. Харалампий и св. Фотини от храма „Рождество Христово“ в Арбанаси – между авторството и традицията
The Iconographic Types of St Haralampos and St Photini from the Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi: Between Authorship and Tradition

Author(s): Vanya Sapundzhieva, Todor Enchev
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Theology and Religion
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: An interesting and unique type of St Haralampos and St Photini with skins flung over their flayed alive bodies, as depicted in the gallery of the Church of the Nativity of Christ, has not enjoyed widespread popularity. The monuments presented here originate mainly from Arbanassi, or are related to the early icon-painters from Tryavna. One of the main reasons for this is in that the type is going beyond the iconography of their representations in the first place and in the painterly approach taken by the artists as relating mainly to the subject matters of the menology. Unlike Christian art that developed in the West, martyrdom in Orthodox murals and icons was rarely rendered literally and the focus was seldom put on physical suffering. Another reason might be put down to the devastation of Arbanasi in the late eighteenth century and consequently, to the interrupted development of these types, of which a limited number of later similar examples are known. It was only the earliest generation of icon-painters from Tryavna, whose work was in direct contact with the teams that worked for the ensemble of churches in Arbanassi, who interpreted the type of St Haralampos with his skin flayed off him, while that of St Photini remained just a rare occurrence of iconographic rendition. Regardless of the reasons, however, what we have here is an example of the painter’s or of the team’s that rendered their representation at the Arbanassian church personal take, which ranks them among the great family of the seventeenth-century European cultural tradition. It allows tracing the complicated mechanism of the devising of the iconographic schemes, quite ably and delicately combined in Arbanassi, and last but not least, it reveals a crucial detail of the lives of the icon-painters of that intriguing century as questing, itinerant and open to the new ideas, which their time abounded in.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 207-220
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English, Bulgarian