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PART OF AN UNIDENTIFIED FIGURE
(In the imprinted anthivolon or drawing the representation is in reverse in relation to the work that was the model.)
60 x 82 cm.
The drawing comprises five sheets of paper joined together. It is in good condition with damage round the edge, splashes of colour and holes on the inside
Part of a standing, bare-footed figure visible from the thighs and below appears within thick clouds. The fragmentary depiction does not permit the secure identification of the holy person.
The element of the cloud within which an upright figure projects is already encountered in works by Emmanuel Tzanes, a characteristic example being the icon of St Nicholas in the Velimezis Collection (1683), while the detail of the bare feet refers to depictions of Archangel Gabriel in the scene of the Annunciation, in which he too is usually combined with clouds but is in a more vigorously animated pose. On the contrary, the figure in the present drawing is distinguished by a static hieratic character, sole trait that links it with its distant Byzantine past. The Westernizing disposition of the unknown painter who produced the drawing, evident in the treatment of the soft, fluid drapery of the garment that realistically swathes the body, in combination with the perspective rendering of the bare feet of the unidentified figure, which recalls analogous depictions of feet in a study by an unknown painter in the Giannoulis Collection, reveal a proficient artist whose work displays academicism, facility and freedom, as well as an overt orientation towards naturalistic Italian art. Similar full-bodied figures of Christ Pantocrator, the Virgin and Child, and other holy persons are depicted frequently in the nineteenth century in large Western-style despotic icons on iconostases in the Ionian Islands and in contemporary works of Nazarene painting, in which the model of the drawing discussed should be sought.
The above remarks permit the attributing of the drawing to a competent painter familiar with the art and techniques of Western academic painting, and its dating to the nineteenth century. Furthermore, the iconographic analogies, the close stylistic affinity and the common technical traits which this drawing displays with two other drawings in a private collection, one with a representation of the Virgin and Child, standing within clouds, and the other with the fragmentary depiction of a hand holding an open codex, permit the hypothesis that the anthivolon in the Makris-Margaritis Collection is the pair representation of the drawing of the Virgin and Child, depicting in its original form a standing Christ holding a codex in the left hand. The common provenance of the two draw- ings in the private collection and the anthivolon discussed here, from the archive of the brothers Christodoulos and Thomas Marinas from Chioniades, further reinforces this view.
N. Chatzidakis 1998, no. 30.
Mystery Great and Wondrous 2002, no. 23 (B. Papadopoulou). Συλλογές εικόνων 1992, no. 25 (A. Tourta). Μπονόβας 1998, fig. 2.
Εκ Χιονιάδων 2004, no. 128 (N. Toutos).
Κονόμος 1966, no 78, pl 107. Κεφαλονιά Ι, 1989, fig. 365. Σολδάτος 1999, figs 216, 217. Κέρκυρα 1994, 194-195, fig. in p. 207.
Παπαστάμος 1977, figs 40, 41. Κόσμος του Βυζαντινού Μουσείου 2004, no. 440.
We are grateful to Chr. Ph. Margaritis for bringing the works and information on their origin to our attention.