[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Lecture: March 11, 2014

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Thu Mar 6 07:43:19 PST 2014


Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Painting and Politics in Venetian Crete
On the Eve of the Council of Ferrara-Florence

Anastasia Drandaki

Benaki Museum, Athens

This lecture will focus on religious paintings made by Cretan workshops in the first half of the fifteenth century, in which the studied amalgamation of Palaiologan and Italian late gothic elements shapes a new pictorial language that serves specific theological and devotional needs. In these works of pronounced hybrid character, multifarious iconographic subjects in the same ensemble are conveyed with surprising stylistic diversity, often served by equally distinctive technical solutions known to and exploited by the artists.  Apart from the ever intriguing subject of the painters' schooling and the artistic milieu where they developed their skills in this artistic bilingualism, the talk will address the question of the purposes and motives behind the commissioners' choices of such hybrid ensembles. The careful stitching of elements from two different artistic and religious traditions becomes meaningful only when examined against the complex historical background of Venetian Crete, particularly at a time of intense debate over the burning issue of the union of the church. Aspects of that debate, which divided deeply the orthodox population, can be discerned in religious paintings from other parts of the byzantine world; in the Venetian colony of Crete however, this phenomenon takes on a distinctive local flavor determined by the long term coexistence, struggles and interaction between the two communities on the island.

Anastasia Drandaki is the Curator of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection at the Benaki Museum, Athens. She has organized exhibitions on diverse aspects of Byzantine art and culture including jewelry, ceramics, and icons. In the US she has curated the exhibitions "The Origins of El Greco" for the Onassis Cultural Center in New York (2009-10) and co-curated "Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections" for the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the J.P. Getty Museum in LA (2013-14). She has published articles on late antique and medieval metalwork, on icons, and on the collections and history of Saint Catherine's Monastery at Sinai. Her books include Greek Icons, 14th-18th Century: The Rena Andreadis Collection (Milan, 2002) and Late Antique Metalware: The Production of Copper Alloy Vessels in the Fourth to Eighth Century: The Benaki Museum Collection and Related Material (Athens, 2014). She is currently a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, preparing her next book on "Pictorial Language and Political Messages in Byzantine Painting from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

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