Project Description


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Two-sided drawing


Drawing in grey gouache
44.5 x 32 cm.
19th century
Handmade paper
Watermark and countermark (three hats and LMC)

The drawing comprises a single sheet of paper and is damaged around the edge, soiled, torn and stained with red ink. Preserved on the back is a white tape for fixing it in position.

Depicted are two Fathers of the Church, Basil the Great left and John Chrysostom right. Both hierarchs are represented with their typical portrait features and a serious, austere expression befitting their status. Full-bodied and standing in frontal pose, they wear prelatic vestments and mitre, bless and hold a closed codex. At the level of the head are two minuscule inscriptions, left βασίλειος (Basil) and right χρισοστομος (Chrysostom).

Basil’s vestments are plain and simple, falling in soft folds emphasized in black and covering the broad-chested figure in a rather naturalistic manner. By contrast, the patriarchal sakkos of Chrysostom is stiff and flat, with a few schematic folds.

The representation of the three Church Fathers in a single com- position, known from Byzantine times,1 is encountered more frequently in the Post-Byzantine period,2 quite often in works by eponymous painters,3 as well as in triptychs,4 bema doors5 and prints.6

The organization of the composition, with Chrysostom at the centre and slightly to the fore, is standardized. Minor variations in the gestures of the rhythmically aligned prelates emphasize their hieratic standing and formal character. According to the aforesaid, the drawing in the Makris-Margaritis Collection is obviously part of a wider composition of the Three Hierarchs. The fact that it is unfinished indicates that it is more a working drawing than an anthivolon.7

Stylistically, the summary rendering of the figures with the expressionless faces and the Baroque decorative motifs on the vestments, in vogue in this period,8 refer to vernacular workshops active in Northern Greece in the nineteenth century. These reproduced models from engravings, which were exceptionally popular at the time, as is confirmed by a significant number of icons of the same subject in churches in the wider area of Thessalonica.9

A. Katselaki

1 Acheimastou-Potamianou 1998b, no. 9.
2 Acheimastou-Potamianou 1998b, no. 12.
3 Χατζηδάκης-Σοφιανός 1990, 193.Χατζηδάκης 1985, nos 71, 73. Galerie Nikolenko 1975, no. 12. Νέα Αποκτήματα 1997, no. 20(K.- F. Kalafatis). Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, no. 102. Ikonen Bilder in Gold 1993, no. 121. Τσιγάρας 2005, fig 36.
4 Μπαλτογιάννη 1986, no. 42. Δρανδάκη 2002, no. 56. Καρακατσάνη 1980, no 295.
5 Ο Κόσμος του Βυζαντινού Μουσείου 2004, fig. 192.
6 Papastratos 1990, vol. I, nos 367, 368, 370.
7 Βασιλάκη 2006, 130.
8 Paskaleva 1987, no .147. Καπλάνη ( in press), nos 34, 35.
9 Κατάλογοι εικόνων 2006, nos 108, 415, 491, 548.

Two-sided drawing a. The Hierarchs Basil and John Chrysostom b. Hierarch and unidentified figure.

Drawing in grey gouache, handmade paper, watermark and countermark (3 hats and LMC). 19th c.

44.5 x 32 cm

(donation no. 87)

A. Katselaki-M. Nanou, Αnthivola. Τhe Holy Cartoons from Chionades, The Makris-Margaritis Collection, publication of the Museum of Greek Folk Art, Athens 2009, cat. no. 10, page 396.