An unknown work of 14th c.: icon of St. Demetrios with his hagiographic cycle Cover Image
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Une oeuvre inconnue du XIV siècle: icône de saint Demetrios avec son cycle hagiographique
An unknown work of 14th c.: icon of St. Demetrios with his hagiographic cycle

Author(s): Georgi Gerov
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Институт за литература - БАН
Keywords: church painting; iconography; Saint Demetrios of Tessaloniki

Summary/Abstract: The fragment of an icon, which has been published here for the first time, belongs to the department “Old Bulgarian Art / Cripta” of the National Art Gallery and has an inventory No. 590. It comes from the church “Holy Virgin” in Veliko Turnovo. Only the right part of a large-sized work is preserved. In the central part used to be painted saint Demetrios on a horse, stabbing his defeated enemy with a spear. In two vertical columns to the left and to the right of the central image eight scenes from the hymnographic cycle of the saint used to be placed. The four scenes in the right column have remained: 1) St. Dimitrios speaks to the emperor Maximilian; 2) Emperor Maximilian and his wife at the amphitheatre; 3) St. Dimitrios blesses Nestor; 4) The martyr’s death of St. Dimitrios. Some of the scenes, especially the second and third ones, have interesting iconographic peculiarities. They, as well as the stylistic marks, indicate that the work was created in the XIV century. As a closest stylistic parallel to our icon, we can point the miniatures of the well-known manuscript Vaticanus slav. 2 of the Manasius chronicle, which was painted and decorated for Tsar Ivan Alexander around 1344-1345. Therefore, the present icon should also be referred to the artistic production from the middle of the XIV century in the capital city of Turnovo. The cult to St. Dimitrios represents an important element of the propaganda of the first Asens, which continues to be maintained and developed by the following Turnovo rulers. The icon we publish here is a product of this political and religious-spiritual context. For the history of the medieval art the work is important mainly because it is the earliest, for the time being, example of including a hymnographic cycle in an icon of St. Dimitrios.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 143-155
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: French
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