The sixteen studies in this book include six specially translated from Greek and another two published here for the first time. They deal with the art of painting in Crete at a time when the island was under Venetian rule. The main emphasis is on the 15th century and especially on the painter Angelos. More than thirty icons with his signature survive, and at least twenty more can be reliably attributed to him. Angelos was the most significant artist of a particularly significant era. It was at this time that the centre of artistic production migrated from Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire to Candia, the capital of Venetian-occupied Crete. These studies try to reconstruct the personality of this late Byzantine painter, Angelos, not only through his icons but also through his will (1436), now in the State Archives in Venice. In this context they also explore the status of the Cretan painter in society. The large number of extant Cretan icons clearly indicates the striking increase in production from the 15th century onwards. Similarly, archival documents are used to examine the trade of icons in Crete and the way Cretan artists had to organize their workshops in order to meet the requirements of the market.
Table of Contents
Contents: Part 1 The Painter Angelos: The painter Angelos Akotantos: his work and his will (1436); New evidence on the painter Angelos Akotantos; From the 'anonymous' Byzantine artist to the 'eponymous' Cretan painter of the 15th century; Painting and painters in Venetian Crete; St Phanourios: cult and iconography; A Cretan icon in the Ashmolean: the embrace of Peter and Paul; A Cretan icon of St George; An icon of St George on horseback killing the dragon by the painter Angelos: a recent acquisition of the Benaki Museum; The hand of Angelos? Part 2 On Cretan Painting: Some observations on early 15th century painting in Crete; Some Cretan icons in the Walters Art Gallery; The reconstruction a triptych; An icon of the entry into Jerusalem and a question of archetypes, prototypes and copies in late and post-Byzantine icon-painting. Part 3 The Cretan Painter at Work: The icon trade in 15th-century Venetian Crete; Workshop practices and working drawings of icon-painters; On the technology of post-Byzantine icons; Epilogue; Index.
Maria Vassilaki is Associate Professor of the History of Byzantine Art at the University of Thessaly, Greece, and Scientific Advisor at the Benaki Museum in Athens.