Project Description


See the Book


Imprinted anthivolon*
109.7 x 74.8cm
9th century
Industrial paper

The drawing comprises seven sheets of paper, of different size, joined together. Mechanical damage discoloration, soiling, creases, loss of small parts of paper, holes) is observed around the edge and along the folds.

Christ Pantocrator is depicted seated, although the throne cannot be discerned. He blesses with the raised right hand, while with his left he holds the lower part of an open gospel book with hatched pages. The Lord wears a chiton pleated symmetrically on the chest and held in place at the waist by a cloth girdle tied carefully in a knot. His broad shoulders are covered by a mantle with rich overfolds, which spreads in dense light drapery to the thighs. Visible on the cross-inscribed halo is the inscription O ΩN(The Being).1 The majestic figure is surrounded by venerating angels emerging from clouds. Decorating the upper corners of the anthivolon are two elegant blank frames for inscriptions. The subject and the dimensions of the drawing suggest its provenance from or use for despotic icons of iconostases.

The representation follows iconographic models of the Athonite and Epirot painting tradition of the early nineteenth century, which is also encountered in the wider region of the Balkans. Characteristic examples are the icons by the Athonite monk Nikephoros in the church of St Blaise at Xanthi (1812),2 by the painter Benjamin from Galatista in the church of St George Galatistas in the Chalkidiki (1833),3 and by Michael from Samarina in Elbasan (1826-1828)4 and the church of the Annunciation to the Virgin in Tirana (1830).5 Similar depictions of Christ are not unknown in the lonian Islands6 and in the Balkans,7 while from the mid-nineteenth century this representation was disseminated widely with the circulation of Athonite prints.8

The present drawing differs from the aforementioned works in that Christ is surrounded by angels in clouds, an element which draws its origin from Italian art9 and from the seventeenth century on- ward frequently accompanies representations of the Virgin10 and of other saints,11 as in works by Emmanuel Tzanes and his successors. It is also identified in two icons of Christ, in Paros (18th-19th century),12 as well as in three despotic icons of Christ, the first in the church of the Dormition of the Virgin at Eratyra (18th century),13 the second on the iconostasis of the church of St George at Petra, Amyntaio (19th century) 14 and the third in the monastery of the Birth of the Virgin at Zidani in Serbia (1920).15 The plasticity of the calligraphic line, the detailed drawing of the Baroque frames, the correct proportions and, primarily, the exaggerated beauty of the figures refer to authoritative works, such as the Holy Mandylion by Emmanuel Tzanes,15 and advocate the attribution of the anthivolon to a competent artist of the first half of the nineteenth century, who with eclecticism, knowledge and competent draftsmanship harmoniously combines elements from different artistic traditions, creatively renewing earlier established subjects.

M. Nanou

*In the imprinted anthivolon the representation is in reverse in relation to the work that was the model.

1 Exodus 3:14.
2 Τσιγάρας 2004, fig. 104.
3 Γαλατσιάνοι 2005, figs 11, 28.
4 Trésors d’art albanais  1993, no. 88.
5 Εικόνες Αλβανίας 2006, no. 68 (E. Drakopoulou).
6 Κεφαλονιά  ΙI, 1994, fig. 256
7 Boschov 1974, fig. 238. Paskaleva 1987, 6-7. Matakieva-Lilkova 1994, no. 81. La parole et l’image 2004, no. II.1.
8 Papastratos 1990, vol. 1, no. 5.
9 Chatzidakis 1974, 185.
10 Chatzidakis 1985, no 148, pl. 69. Χατζηδάκης – Δρακοπούλου 1997, 423, fig. 334. Cf. three icons of Madre della Consolazione by Emmanouel Tzanes, see Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, no. 78. Βασιλάκη 2000, fig.167 Δρανδάκης 1974, 41, pl. Γ’.
11 Chatzidakis 1962, no. 109, Les icônes 1985, nos 13, 16. Δρανδάκης‚ 1962, 46ff, pls 13α, 15β, 16α-β.
12 Μητσάνη  1996, no. 31.
13 Aϊβαζόγλου- Δόβα 1982, 364, pl. XΙX.
14 Τσιλιπάκου  2006, fig. 27.
15 Παναγία Μικροκάστρου 2002, fig. 229.
16 Mystery Great and Wondrous 2002, no. 97 (A. Drandaki).

Christ Pantocrator.

Imprinted anthivolon, industrial paper. 19th c.

109.7 x 74.8 cm

(donation no. 86)

A. Katselaki-M. Nanou, Anthivola. Τhe Holy Cartoons from Chionades, The Makris-Margaritis Collection, publication of the Museum of Greek Folk Art, Athens 2009, cat. no. 7, page 393.