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Title The Murals of the Empire of Nicea: Limits and Stages
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About author Vinogradova, Elena Alexandrovna — Ph. D., associate professor. Orthodox St. Tikhon University of Humanities, Likhov per., 6, bld. 1, 127051 Moscow, Russian Federation.
In the section Byzantine and Eastern Christian Art DOI10.18688/aa199-2-26
Year 2019 Volume 9 Pages 286305
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.033.2...6+7.033.2...7 Index BBK 85.113(3)

The article deals with the murals of the Empire of Nicaea. There were several centres of art production in the Empire. At the time of the Empire’s foundation the murals of Zoodochos Pege in Monagri on Kos and of Tavşan Ada (the 4th layer) were created by the same local artists. The next stage (first third of the13th century) is represented by the paintings in Caria and Ionia: on the Inçekemer Taş rock, in the destroyed church in Punta on Mykale cap, Deesis in the skeuofylakion of St. John church in Ephesos, in the church onTheatre terrace in Pergamon and the frescoes of Latmos (monastic caves outside the Kellibaron gate, cave of Christ above Ancient Latmos, cave of St. Paul of Latmos). Some echoes of the dynamic style of the 12th century are combined in these ensembles with new trends — voluminous characteristic faces, modeled in Kellibaronin live pasty technique. The frescoes of Pergamon and Ephesos look more ordinary.

Next stage, the reign of John III Vatatzes, is represented by the paintings in Kyriakosellia on Crete (1230–1236) attributed to Nicene masters. These are high quality paintings, with much more plasticity and inspiration, however, with some provincialism. They are characterized by spatial compositions, complicated architecture,dynamic poses of saints with voluminous figures and plastic faces, sometimes grotesque. On the contrary, the third layer of murals of St. Michael at Thari and the first layer in St. Phanourios in the old cityof Rhodes (1226–1234) made by Nicene painters demonstrate more archaic elements. The second layer of the murals in Patmos refectory (1230–1240) must have been created under Nicene influence, while some ensembles on the islands of Crete, Leros and Cos made under the influence of Patmos were painted by Niceneartists themselves, as A. Katsioti suggests. The style of frescoes in the basilica of Anaia and the two pastophoria of St. Sophia in Nicaea continue and develop the trends outlined in Kyriakosellia, demonstrating the third stage in the development of Nicene art at the end of the reign of John III Vatatzes and Theodore III Laskaris(1240–1250s). Their careful consideration reveals high quality of painting, refined colors, monumental scaleof figures of saints and angels, obvious emphasis on volume and lively turns. The faces have beautiful classical types with large features. The monumental classicism of these poorly preserved paintings, dating back mostlikely to around the middle of the 13th century, is impressive. These frescoes should be placed somewhere between the paintings of Mileševa and Sopoćani. To Nicene painters should be also ascribed the frescoes of Bojana(1259), the first layer in the church of Sts. Nicholas and John in Stavropigi, Mesa Mani, and the murals inthe monastery of the Virgin Kyriotissa in Constantinople. Appreciating the role of Nicea in the developmentof art one should consider another important center, Thessaloniki. Yet the art connections between these two centers, Constantinople and The Second Bulgarian Kingdom, were really complex. Poorly preserved and little-known monuments of the Empire of Nicea allow a better understanding of the artistic processes of the13th century, which led to the appearance of the Early Palaeologan style.

Reference Vinogradova, Elena A. The Murals of the Empire of Nicea: Limits and Stages. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 9. Ed: A. V. Zakharova, S. V. Maltseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova. — Lomonosov Moscow State University / St. Petersburg: NP-Print, 2019, pp. 286–305. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
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