Project Description


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Drawing. Charcoal
41x 63cm.
19th century
Industrial paper

The surface of the drawing comprises three pieces of industrial paper and is in poor condition, with sporadic splashes of red pigment

Dominating the right of the fragmentary representation is a figure in erect pose, depicted from the chest to the knee and holding a basket. At the centre, in smaller scale, is a domed building with four monks inside. On the left stand two male figures in half body, wearing Ottoman-type headdresses, one middle-aged with hands in prayer and the other beardless with hands crossed on the chest.

The difference in scale of the figures indicates that the representation is part of a larger composition, in which case there are two possibilities. The first is that the drawing is part of a biographical episode from the Vita of a saint. The rare representation of the Pilgrimage of St Nicholas to the Holy Land, in the Galataki monastery on Euboea (1586)1 presents not only the basket but also important analogies in its iconography with that of the drawing. However, the basket is encountered in episodes of one other iconographic cycle, that of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, which was not widespread in Post-Byzantine painting. Typological similarities to Iamblichos, as he is represented in a miniature in the Sicilian codex in the National Library of Turin (14th century), can indeed be observed.2

The second possibility is that the drawing is part of a composite rep- resentation with a full-bodied saint at the centre, surrounded by scenes of his life, while the two male figures can be interpreted as donors, which hypothesis is advocated by their gestures of suppli- cation. Compositions of comparable type are known from Byzan- tine times3 and were also produced in the ensuing centuries.4 Parallels for the simple, clear design are encountered in the wall- paintings in the Avel monastery at Vissani in Pogoni, works of the painters Constantine and Michael from Chioniades (1770).5 The drawing overall, with the flat modelling, careless execution and spare, summary treatment, points to a Chioniades workshop active in the nineteenth century.

A. Katselaki

1 Kanari 2003, 101-102, fig. 59a.
2 Στρατή 2004, 298-299, pl 99γ, with earlier bibliography.
3 Acheimastou-Potamianou 1998b, no. 5.
4 Κούτσικου 2001, 54.
5 Κωνστάντιος 2001, pls 8b, 18a, 148b

Fragment with an unidentified subject.

Drawing, charcoal, industrial paper. 19th c.

41 x 63 cm

(donation no. 89)

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. 13 , page 399