Project Description

Religious Liturgical Objects

Artophorion (monstrance)

Height 58 cm, diameter 27 cm
Late 19th century

Wood-carved artophorion (monstrance) of rotunda shape and hexagonal plan, with relief vegetal and geometric decoration. The monstrance is organized in three parts of differing height. In the lower part, upon a base with undulating step stands a wooden six-sided core, on each side of which are rectangular panels defined by an equal number of mullions. High-relief lozenges with incised decoration adorn the front of the mullions. At the centre of each panel is a high-relief rectangle on horizontal axis with the two narrow sides curved. The middle part, the body of the monstrance, is similarly arranged, except that the panels and correspondingly the high-relief rectangles at the centre are developed vertically and are defined by twisted columns. Furthermore, the rectangles terminate above in an arch, while below only the corners are rounded. Discernible in two rectangles are traces of a cross, perhaps inlaid, which no longer survives. At the base of the columns are three successive zones of schematic leaves, while at the top are capitals with likewise vegetal decoration. One of the six panels is the door-leaf of the monstrance, which was affixed with hinges on the right edge and has a lentoid metal (?) handle on the left side.

In the upper part of the monstrance and upon a bevelled cornice sits the vaulted crowning, which too is divided into six panels. At the centre of each is a high-relief vegetal ornament of acanthus type, reminiscent of a canistrum.

The monstrance in the Velimezis Collection is of the familiar type encountered in Post-Byzantine times and particularly from workshops in Asia Minor, such as the monstrance dedicated by Metropolitan Neophytos in the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Adrianople (1669)1, that from Cappadocian Caesarea, which was dedicated in the church of St John in Niğde (1815)2, and the two artophoria presently in the Byzantine and Christian Museum, as well as the one from the Prodromos Monastery at Zincedere in Cappadocia, today in the Benaki Museum3. However, the marked projection of the elements at the edges –that is, the mullions, the columns and the column capitals which in the upper part form a multifaceted crowning–, in contrast to the almost flat surfaces of the six sides, create a sense of imbalance in the whole and refer to architectural models. The simpler version of the standard type, observed in the artophorion in the Collection, mainly in its form, materials and decoration, as well as in the execution and technical features, point to a dating in the late nineteenth century.

A. Katselaki

1. Οι Πύλες του Μυστηρίου. Θησαυροί της Ορθοδοξίας από την Ελλάδα, Athens 1994, no. 40 (Ευγ. Χαλκιά).
2. Μυστήριον Μέγα και Παράδοξο. Σωτήριον Έτος 2000, Έκθεσις Εικόνων και Κειμηλίων, Athens 2002, no. 177 (Ε. Χαλκιά).
3. Α. Μπαλλιάν, Θησαυροί από τις ελληνικές κοινότητες της Μικράς Ασίας και της Ανατολικής Θράκης, exhibition catalogue, 1992, nos 18, 52.

Artophorion (monstrance).

Wood, 19th c.
Diameter 58 x 27 cm.

(donation no. 134)