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HIERARCH (St Gregory the Theologian ?)

Imprinted cartoon
(In the imprinted anthivolon or drawing the representation is in reverse in relation to the work that was the model.)
119 x 78 cm.
19th century
Industrial paper

The single surface of the drawing is composed of nine pieces of industrial paper glued together. The condition is poor, with considerable loss of parts and holes on the inside.

A hierarch is depicted to the hips, as if celebrating the liturgy, blessing and holding a crosier. The elderly father with robust body has a pronounced bald crown and a wide beard. He wears opulent prelatic vestments: sticharion, phelonion, omophorion with applie crosses, epigonation with Western-type representation of the Resurrection, and encolpium with miniature representation of Christ holding an orb. The portrait features of the hierarch resemble those of two Fathers of the Orthodox Church, Gregory the Theologian and Athanasios of Alexandria.1 In its iconography and style, the drawing can be compared with iconostasis doors bearing full-bodied hierarchs, in the Ionian Islands.2 Among the earliest examples are those by the Cretan painter Emmanuel Tzanes in the church of Sts Jason and Sosipater in Corfu (1654),3 which were the model for a subsequent series of analogous works in the Tonian Islands.4 The present drawing deviates somewhat from these, as the prelate holds a pastoral stave instead of a scroll5 and is shown in vigorous movement.
The physiognomy of the hierarch, the detailed and realistic rendering of the vestments – in accordance with the dictates of the period-, as well as the assiduous drawing of the hair, permit the attribution of the cartoon to a Septinsular painter, an heir to Tzanes, active in the early nineteenth century. The Westernizing disposition in the treatment of the fluid drapery, in the plasticity of modelling the volumes and in the naturalistic almost secular manner of the elderly face with the well-drawn features which acquire the characteristics of a realistic portrait, link the hierarch in the drawing with icons on the iconostasis of the Holy Trinity church at Lixouri in Cephalonia, which are signed by the local painter Gerasimos Kokkinos (first half of 19th century).6
The large dimensions of the drawing and the similarities to the pose and manner of figures of Church Fathers on Ionian Island doors and bema doors, lead to the hypothesis that it copies such works and was intended either for making new doors or bema doors, or for a despotic icon in an Tonian island church. If this hypothesis is correct, the figure in the drawing in the Makris-Margaritis Collection is probably Gregory the Theologian, who is counted among the Three Hierarchs whose work is linked directly with the liturgy and the space of the sanctuary.
The fact that the figure in this imprinted cartoon is of almost the same dimensions as the one of Christ Pantocrator, in the Makris- Margaritis Collection, and of the Virgin and Child, formerly in the Giannoulis Collection,7 in combination with the artistic virtues common to all, suggest that the three works comprise a single ensemble and are the work of the same competent painter.

A. Katselaki

1 Ερμηνεία 1909, 154.
2 Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, 117-118.
3 Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, nos 80, 81.
4 Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, no. 99. Άμφια 1999, no, 102. Κεφαλονιά Ι, 1989, fig. 155. Κεφαλονιά II. 1994, figs 197, 301, 302, 326, 329. Acheimastou- Potamianou 1998a, nos 48-50.
5 Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, 117.
6 Κεφαλονιά II, 1904, figs 80, 81, 92.
7 See no. 7 in the present catalogue (M. Nanou). See reconstruction on pages 120-121.

Hierarch (St Gregory the Theologian ?).

Imprinted cartoon, industrial paper. 19th c.

119 x 78 cm

(donation no. 88) 

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. 8, page 394.