10 months ago


André Lecomte du Noüy

André Lecomte du Noüy and the frescoes of the Curtea de Argeş Monastery | 75 Fig. 15: St. Phanourios, Angelos Akotantos, mid-15 th century, Megali Panagia church - Patmos, Greece. Source: Βοκοτόπουλος 1995, no. 153, p. 172. Fig. 16: St. Phanourios, Angelos Akotantos, mid-15 th century, St. Catherine church - Crete, Greece. Source: Fig. 17: St. Phanourios, Angelos Akotantos, mid-15 th century, Valsamonero church – Crete, Greece. Source: Borboudakis 1993, cat. 123. Fig. 18: St. Phanourios (see note 22), Angelos Akotantos, mid-15 th century, Rena Andreatis collection. The denominative inscription of the saint depicted in this icon was changed on restoration, hence the identification as St. Demetrius. Source: Drandaki 2002, no. 5, p. 37. Against the background of the Christian - Muslim ideological clash of that historical age, St. Phanourios dons, by necessity, military attire. The earliest representations of the saint picture him armed with a lance, a sword and, occasionally, a shield. His distinctive feature is a cross the vertical arm of which ends with a lit candle, sometimes fitted onto the head of the lance. The association with the lit candle stems from the saint’s name origin: Greek φανερωτής (‘phanerotis’), meaning “the one who brings to light, shows or reveals”). 26 Unfortunately, it is hard to ascertain today how popular St. Phanourios was in Wallachian arts at the time, but the presence at Curtea de Argeş in the early 16 th century of a saint that had just debuted in post-Byzantine iconography, glorified through the craft of Cretan icon painters, can be a milestone in defining the personality and artistic path of the painters in Dobromir’s team. Perhaps, just as his name suggests, St. Phanourios will succeed in bringing to light the real stories of the Argeş painters, obscured under the many layers of colour settled in over 500 years of history. Fig. 19: St. Phanourios - detail, Angelos Akotantos, mid-15 th century, Rena Andreatis collection. Source: Drandaki 2002, no. 5, p. 37. Fig. 20: St. Phanourios (?) - detail, fresco panel fragment from the Episcopal Church in Curtea de Argeş, [the master painter Dobromir], pre-1526. Credits: Collection of the National Museum of Art of Romania.

76 | Emanuela Cernea 1 This paper is partly based on the conclusions of the research about the original painting of the Curtea de Argeş Episcopal Church, which were presented at Testimonies. The Frescoes of the Argeş Monastery, an exhibition held at the National Art Museum of Romania (6 December 2012-31 August 2013). 2 A fact signalled by Ms Ana Dobjanschi, who, to my knowledge, is preparing a presentation on the topic. 3 Following the presentation given at Testimonies. The Frescoes of the Argeş Monastery (see footnote 1 above), where the iconographic plans were shown for the very first time along with numerous other graphic documents sketched by du Noüy’s restoration team. The exhibition catalogue also occasioned the first publication of the extremely precious documents that we owe to the French architect, as well as to the late Professor Grigore Ionescu, thanks to whom they reached us. 4 See Restaurarea 1890. Cf. also the numerous files kept in the National Archive of Romania. 5 See Cernea, Pătrășcanu 2012. 6 Ciocârlan 1891, p. 83-84. 7 Ciocârlan 1891, p. 83-84. 8 Ciocârlan 1891, p. 83-84. 9 Cernea, Pătrășcanu 2012, cat. 35, p. 144-145. 10 Report drafted at Sinaia/20 July 1890; Révoil 1890, p. 246. 11 Phrase borrowed from André Lecomte du Noüy’s tombstone in the little graveyard of the Flămânzești church: “The restorer of the great Episcopal Church laid his cross here in the year of redemption - 1914.” Βοκοτόπουλος 1995 – Παναγιώτης Λ. Βοκοτόπουλος, Βυζαντινές εικόνες, Εκδοτική Αθηνών, Athens, 1995; Borboudakis 1993 – Manolis Borboudakis, Icons of the Cretan School: (from Candia to Moscow and St. Petersburg), Ministry of Culture -13th Ephorateof Byzantine Antiquities of Crete, 1993; Brătulescu 1942 – Victor Brătulescu, Frescele din Biserica lui Neagoe dela Argeş, Bucharest, 1942; Cernea, Pătrășcanu 2012 – Emanuela Cernea, Lucreția Pătrășcanu, “Iconographic Reconstitutions,” in Mărturii. Frescele Mănăstirii Argeșului, National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest, 2012; Chatzidakis 1970 – Manolis Chatzidakis, “Recherches sur le Peintre Théophane le Crétois,” in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, vol. 23/24 (1969/ 1970), p. 309-352; Chatzidakis 1986 – Manolis Chatzidakis, The Cretan Painter Theophanis. The final phase of his art in the wall-paintings of The Holy Monastery of Stavronikita, Mount Athos, The Holy Monastery of Stavronikita, 1986; Ciocârlan 1891 – Ștefan Ciocârlan, “The Paintings from Curtea de Argeș,” in Analele Arhitecturei și ale artelor cu care se leagă, ii:5 (May 1891), p. 83-84; Dobjanschi, Mândru 2001 – Ana Dobjanschi, Doina-Emilia Mândru, Arta Ţării Româneşti în secolele xiv-xvi (catalog de expoziţie), Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României, Bucharest, 2001; Drandaki 2002 – Anastasia Drandaki, Greek Icons. 14 th -18 th century. The Rena Andreadis Collection, Milano, Skira, Milano, 2002; Dumitrescu 1978 – Carmen Laura Dumitrescu, Pictura din Ţara Românească în veacul al xvi-lea, Meridiane, Bucharest, 1978; Notes : Bibliographic Abbreviations: 12 National Archive of Romania (nar), Depository mcip, File 8/ 1879, p. 103-108. 13 Dumitrescu 1978, p. 71. 14 Chatzidakis 1986, fig. 165. 15 Chatzidakis 1970. 16 Byzantine artists’ main duty was to preclude any doubts regarding the identity of the saints portrayed, which generated a much subtler understanding of physiognomic differentiation; the major concern of Byzantine art was to convey essentially and unambiguously the features of the prototype in the image painted, whereas hagiographic literature provided numerous accounts either of miraculous appearances of some saints or of painters’ dreams, which guaranteed accurate “capturing” of physiognomies. See Grotowski 2010. 17 Βοκοτόπουλος 1995, cat. 153. 18 Icons 1995, cat. 95. 19 Icons 1995, cat. 122, 123. 20 Drandaki 2002, fig. 23. The author maintains that the denominative inscription of this icon, which identifies the character as, surprisingly, St. Demetrius, and not St. Phanourios, is a later addition dating from an 18th-century restoration. 21 Lexikon 1994, vol. 8, p. 195. 22 Kaplanoglou 2006. 23 Walter 2003, pp. 206-211. 24 Vassilakes-Mavrakakes 1981. Peer-reviewed by : Marina Sabados (Institutul de Istoria Artei ‚George Oprescu’, Bucharest); Ovidiu Olar (Academia Română, Institutul de Istorie ‚Nicolae Iorga’, Bucharest); Ana Dumitran (Muzeul Naţional al Unirii, Alba Iulia). 25 Vassilakes-Mavrakakes 1981, p. 237; Kaplanoglou 2006, p. 54. Grotowski 2010 – Piotr Ł. Grotowski, “Defining the Byzantine Saint – Creating a Message in Orthodox Art,” in Series Byzantina, viii, 2010, p. 133-158; Iancovescu 1998 – Ioana Iancovescu, Frescele de la Catedrala Argeşului (catalog de expoziţie), Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României, Bucharest, 1998; Icons 1995 – Icons of the Cretan School, The Ministry of Culture – 13 th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Crete, 1995; Istoria 1970 – Istoria Artelor Plastice în România, vol i-ii, Bucharest, 1968-1970; Kaplanoglou 2006 – Marianthi Kaplanoglou, “The Folk Cult of St. Phanourios in Greece and Cyprus, and Its Relationship with the International Tale Type 804,” in Folklore, 117:1 (Apr. 2006), p. 54-74. Lexikon 1994 – Lexikon der christlichen ikonographie. Ikonographie der heiligen, freiburger graphische betriebe, 1994, 8 vol.; Restaurarea 1890 – Restaurarea monumentelor istorice 1865-1890. Acte şi Rapoarte oficiale despre restaurarea Catedralei şi construirea reşedinţei Episcopale dela Curtea de Argeş, Despre restaurarea bisericelor Trei Ierarhi şi S-tu Nicolae din Iaşi, a catedralelor metropolitane din Târgovişte şi din Bucureşti şi a bisericelor S-tu Dumitru din Craiova şi Stavropoleos din Bucuresci, Ministry of Cults and Public Instruction, Carol Göbl Printing House, Bucharest, 1890; Vassilakes-Mavrakakes 1981 – Maria Vassilakes-Mavrakakes, “St. Phanourios: Cult and Iconography,” in Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society, 28 (1981), series 4, p. 223-238; Walter 2003 – Christopher Walter, The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing, 2003.

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