Ελληνες αγιογράφοι μέχρι to 1821 (review)
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Reviews 69 FÃ-vos I. PiombÃ-nos. Έλληνες αγιογϕάφοι μÎ-χϕι to 1821. 2nd ed. Athina: EterÃ-a ellinikú logotehnikú ke istorikú arhÃ-u. 1984. Pp. 552 This book was originally published in 1979 and, according to the author, the discovery of much new material as well as continuing demand for the book led him to prepare this new edition. The book is in fact a catalog of Greek icon painters, including not only painters of portable icons, but also miniaturists, mosaicists, and fresco painters. It covers the period from the beginning of Christian art until 1821. Following a brief introduction, the main body of the book (491 pp.) consists of an alphabetical listing of the Greek painters whose names the author has collected over the years. For each painter there is a brief entry providing whatever significant biographical information the author has gathered, e.g., place and date of birth, known works, and any teachers or pupils he might have had. This entry is followed by a series of numbers which refer the reader to items in the extensive bibliography (some 900 items). Two tables at the back of the book list the artists again by century and by place of origin. A third table lists by geographical location all the monuments known to have been painted by these artists. A glossary of terms is also provided . Piombinos states that his purpose in writing the book is to bring to public attention the hundreds of artists who produced Orthodox religious art over the centuries in humble anonymity. His intended audience is more the general public than the specialist, although he notes that the work could be useful as an aid for specialists. The specialist , and for that matter the general reader, however, should be aware of a major shortcoming: the author does not appear to have verified the information obtained from his secondary sources. Nor does he always provide sufficient references or information to allow the reader to easily verify the information. I mention here a few examples of the errors encountered while checking the entries for the first through tenth centuries (see p. 415). For the fourth century Piombinos lists three artists—Alexander, Metrophanes, and Paul. In his entries on pp. 29, 249, and 320 Piombinos identifies the three men as artists who lived at the time of Constantine the Great. None of these men, however, were artists; all were fourth century Patriarchs of Constantinople. According to the eighth century Parastaseis Syntomoi Chronikai, likenesses of the three men in question were set up on boards at the time of Constantine the Great. Since Piombinos does not give the original source, but only refers to a 1943 article in the journal Nea Estia from which he evidently derived his version, the 70 Reviews reader cannot easily verify his entries unless already familiar with the source. For the ninth century, Constantine is listed as the artist who painted the frescoes in the church of Tokali Kilise in Cappadocia (p. 209). According to the inscriptions in this church, however, Constantine was in fact one of the donors, while the artist was one Nicephorus , whom Piombinos does not mention. The bibliographical reference in this case does not lead one to any of the recent literature on the churches of Capadocia. For the eighth-ninth centuries Piombinos has listed one Nicholas (p. 283) who appears on an icon at Mt. Sinai as a small figure kneeling at the feet of St. Irene, a position which is commonly used for the donor. The inscription on the icon simply identifies Nicholas and gives no indication that he may be the artist. Likewise, Piombinos lists Naukratios as the mosaicist responsible for the ninth or eleventh century apse mosaic in the Koimesis Church in Nicaea (p. 276). In this case also Naukratios is the donor, not the artist. Even the lone entry for the first century is misleading. Piombinos lists Ananias, the legendary artist supposedly sent by Abgar of Edessa to paint the portrait of Christ, but gives no references to the literature on the Abgar legend wherein it has been shown that the part of the legend referring to Ananias the painter was invented around the fifth century. The entries...


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