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Dionysios of Fourna (c. 1670-c. 1745)

Artistic Creation and Literary Description


George Kakavas

      Dionysios of Fourna is very well known as author of the Hermeneia, a painterís manual, but less recognised for his artistic activities. George Kakavas aims in this publication to demonstrate the significance of Dionysios not only as author but also as artist. He uses manuscript evidence and extant paintings on Mount Athos and at Fourna, and evaluates the artistic and literary works of Dionysios by gathering biographical evidence from documentary sources such as his correspondence, inscriptions, epigrams, liturgical works and his Vita composed by Theophanis of Agrapha. He also investigates the connections between the painted and written works of Dionysios. A paradox of Dionysiosí artistic oeuvre is that it includes iconographic elements that had entered into post-Byzantine art, regardless of whether these are recorded in his Hermeneia or not. In conclusion, his artistic legacy is of equal value to his literary one and by examining both it has been possible to arrive at a fuller understanding of Dionysios as author and painter.

This book is based on the authorís PhD gotten at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. The author (b. 1957) previously studied History and Archaeology at the University of Athens; he also holds a BA degree in Theology from the same University. He worked for many years as a Field Archaeologist and Curator of Antiquities for the Greek Ministry of Culture and as a Research Associate for the Christian and Archaeological Society, and the University of Athens, Department of History and Archaeology; he is currently director of the 24th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities at Lamia. He lectured and published extensively on key issues of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting, while his research interests also include the study of Byzantine fortification systems, as well as post-Byzantine Architecture, mainly of the 17th and the 18th centuries. He also supervised the organization of major Byzantine and post-Byzantine Exhibitions worldwide and, subsequently, edited the accompanying catalogues or contributed to them with numerous entries on a wide range of material.

C0NTENTS: Preface, Introduction (A note to the sources, A note to the appendices). Chapter One (The editions and translations of the Hermeneia of Dionysios of Fourna, The purpose of Dionysiosí Hermeneia, The contents and the sources of the Hermeneia, The Hermeneia as a continuum between past and current practice: the blank pages, The dating and the likely site of the Hermeneiaís completion, Hermeneia and Hermeneiai: the eventual predominance of Dionysiosí Hermeneia). Chapter Two (The vita of Dionysios of Fourna). Chapter Three (From literary description to artistic creation and vice versa, The artistic strategy of Dionysios of Fourna). Conclusions. Appendix I (The codex of the Zoodochos Pigi Monastery at Fourna: Codex Benaki 37). Appendix II (The cell complex of Dionysios of Fourna at Karyes on Mount Athos). Appendix III (Catalogue of painted works of Dionysios of Fourna). Appendix IV (List of the Hermeneia and Hermeneiai manuscripts). Index, List of Abbreviations, Bibliography, List of Illustrations.


Most of the material is published here for the first time.

Bound, 24 x 17 cm., 552 pp. (368 pp. text, 230 illustrations in full colour and 100 in black and white)

2008                 ISBN: 9789080647688                PRICE: EUR 250

Dionysios of Fourna, Chapel of Timios Prodromos, Karyes, Mount Athos, 1711 A.D.

Christ Pantokrator, Wall painting

The Eternal Father, Wall painting

Icon of St. John the Baptist