Drawings for the Apocalypse from the Archive of Zachary Zograph at the National Art Gallery and their Western Prototype Cover Image
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Рисунки към Апокалипсиса от албума на еленските зографи в НХГ и техният западен прототип
Drawings for the Apocalypse from the Archive of Zachary Zograph at the National Art Gallery and their Western Prototype

Author(s): Alexander Kujumdzhiev
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: The National Art Gallery treasures an album with drawings which contains also 12 illustrations of the Apocalypse made during the second quarter of the 19th c. by the icon painter Yordan Mihov from Elena. Their prototypes are found in the Bible of Matthaus Merian (1593-1650) published in Strasbourg (1630). Merian made for the Bible 12 engravings to illustrate the Apocalypse, which are absolutely identical in number, content and iconography as those drawn by Mihov. It is difficult to accept the fact that this Bible has directly reached Y. Mihov. The grounds for this conclusion are based on the fact that it contains over 200 illustrations and among the other drawings from the album of the National Art Gallery there are no iconographic concurrences outside the Apocalypse. Besides, in Mihov’s drawings there were small changes – for example, the designation of the figures in chapter 11 as Enoch and Elijah. We have also evidence how these engravings by Merian have reached the East. It is known, that in 1650 the governor-general of Livonia – Erik Dahlbergh (1625-1703) got in touch with Merian’s family and concluded a long-term agreement for the preparation of topographic maps. Between the years 1681 and 1700 he was already in Riga (Latvia) which was the first border town of Enlightened Europe in the direction of Russia. So it was quite possible for him during his work on the topographic maps for Dahlbergh in Riga the Bible of Merian to have been circulating there. In the 18th c. the illustrations in this Bible of the Apocalypse could have been separated in some Russian/Ukraine publication so that they have reached also Mihov a century later. Merian’s Bible also gave the prototype for Chapter 18 of the Apocalypse depicted by the Samokov master Dimitar Hristov in the Catholicon of the Rila Monastery (1844). This chapter was missing in the engravings by Nikodim Zubritzky of the New Testament, Chernigov (1717), which were the model for the rest of the scenes from the Rila church. So it is quite probable the Dimitar Hristov has used two separate sources for the composing of the cycle for the Apocalypse in the Rila Monastery. That being the case, his second source must have coincided with the publication used by Y. Mihov.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 14-19
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Bulgarian