[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Lecture: November 12, 2014

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Thu Nov 6 14:51:15 PST 2014


Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Shedding Light on an Unexplored Chapter
of Balkan Art:  The Travelling Painters
from Mount Grammos

Theocharis Tsampouras

tsampouras at princeton.edu<mailto:tsampouras at princeton.edu>

Mary Seeger O'Boyle Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent:  Molly Greene, History and Hellenic Studies

The painters from the villages of Mount Grammos, between modern-day Greece and Albania, constitute the largest documented group of craftsmen in the Balkans during the seventeenth century. The group includes twenty-four artists with more than one hundred works attributed to them in a region extending throughout Greece, Albania, F.Y.R.O.M., Bulgaria and Serbia. Some of these artists were already known to literature since the 1940s, but were generally overlooked by art scholars, who described their work as unsophisticated and oversimplified, as it was neither groundbreaking in terms of iconography, nor could serve as evidence for constructing national narratives. However, the quantity of their work, the longevity of their activity, but most importantly their notable geographic expansion in the Ottoman Balkans serve as evidence for their undisputed artistic significance. Furthermore, these painters seem to have played a prominent role in the creation and dissemination of a common artistic language, which was gradually formed in the Balkans and was manifested in the majority of the monuments painted in the seventeenth century. In this lecture I will present the preliminary findings of my postdoctoral research and discuss the work of the artistic groups from Mount Grammos in regard to their historical, economic and social context. By appraising their artistic freedom, their spirit of collaboration and their rare ability to cross language, religious and ethnic barriers, this talk will delineate the status of Christian artists under Ottoman rule and elaborate on the artistic expectations of their commissioners.

Theocharis Tsampouras studied Archaeology (B.A., 2002) and History (B.A., 2004) at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and holds an M.A. (2005) and a PhD (2013) in Byzantine Art and Archaeology from the same University. In his doctoral dissertation he investigated the significance of the wall-paintings created by artistic workshops originating from the region of Mount Grammos, Greece. He has worked on projects involving excavations, documentation, and digitization of collections, and has also published several articles on Balkan art under Ottoman rule. His current research focuses on the assessment of the common artistic language in the Balkans created by travelling painters in the seventeenth century.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund
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