Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Religious Art from Russia to Greece (16th - 19th Century)

An exhibition of Russian religious art objects preserved in Greek Church and Museum collections.

An exhibition is organized that will shed light to the various aspects of the phenomenon, focusing on the movement of objects and their reception by and integration in a new ethnic, religious and cultural environment. The various paths and diverse forms of reception and adoption in the Greek world will be explored, as well as issues of dating of the Russian artworks and attribution to Russian workshops.

A large number of Russian icons and ecclesiastical furnishings are kept in monasteries, churches and collections in Greece. These important but as yet unknown works of art offer a valuable testimony not only to the history of religious art in Greece but also to the cultural interaction and political ties between Russia and the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean in the early modern era, from the beginning of the 16th until the end of the 19th century. The wide distribution of Russian religious artworks in the Greek communities and religious centers was achieved through a composite nexus that penetrated the whole stratification of both societies. Starting from the Tsar and the exchange of formal diplomatic gifts to the zeteai, petitions for financial support addressed by the Greek monasteries to the Russian orthodox, as well as the trading activity of Greek and Russian merchants. 

The exhibition will shed light to the various aspects of the phenomenon, focusing on the movement of objects and their reception by and integration in a new ethnic, religious and cultural environment. The various paths and diverse forms of reception and adoption in the Greek world will be explored, as well as issues of dating of the Russian artworks and attribution to Russian workshops.

Some of the most significant museums in Greece are lending masterpieces for this exhibition. Among them, of particular importance are icons and works of art coming from historic monasteries and churches, where they had been deposited as votive offerings and gifts. As such, these works testify to the international radiance and theological authority of Greek monasteries in the Orthodox world.  

Academic Supervisor
Christos Hadziiosif (Emeritus Professor Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete)

Research team
Yuliana Boycheva (Postdoctoral researcher, Institute for Mediterranean Studies)
Anastasia Drandaki (Curator of byzantine and post-byzantine collection in Benaki Museum)
Mara Verikokou (Museologist, Benaki Museum)  
       
Collaboration
Benaki Museum, Athens


Scientific curator of the exhibition
Religious art from Russia to Greece: 16th – 19th c.” Benaki Museum, Athens (December 2017-February 2018) 

Organization of scientific meetings
International symposium “Russian religious art in the Orthodox East: politics, art and technology” (December 15 - 16, 2017, Benaki Museum) 

Publications

  • Yuliana Α. Boycheva “Συλλογές ρωσικών εικόνων στην Ελλάδα [Russian icons in Greek church and museum collections]”, in Yuliana Α. Boycheva, Anastasia.N. Drandaki (ed.), Θρησκευτική Τέχνη από την Ρωσία στην Ελλάδα (16ος – 19ος αιώνας), [Religious art from Russia to Greece 16th – 19th c.], exhibition catalogue (Athens, Benaki museum, December 14, 2017 - February 11, 2018), Athens: Institute for Mediterranean Studies-FORTH / Benaki museum, 2017, 34-58.
  • Yuliana Α. Boycheva “Δίαυλοι μεταφοράς, υποδοχή και χρήσεις των ρωσικών εικόνων στον ιδιωτικό και στον δημόσιο χώρο [Transfer channels, reception and uses of Russian icons in Greece 16th-20th c.” in Θρησκευτική Τέχνη από την Ρωσία στην Ελλάδα, [Religious art from Russia to Greece], (op.cit.), 59-64. 
  • Yuliana A. Boycheva, “Εικονογραφικές και υφολογικές ιδιαιτερότητες των ρωσικών εικόνων στην Ελλάδα [Iconographic and stylistic particularities of Russian icons in Greece]” in Θρησκευτική Τέχνη από την Ρωσία στην Ελλάδα, [Religious art from Russia to Greece], (op.cit.), 121-123.
  • Yuliana A. Boycheva, entries for 19 objects in: Θρησκευτική Τέχνη από την Ρωσία στην Ελλάδα, [Religious art from Russia to Greece], (op.cit.), [n. 2, p. 67-68, n. 3, p. 69-70, n.4, p. 71-72, n.17-18, p. 102-104, n. 19, p.105-107, n. 20, p.108-110, n. 21, p.111-112, n. 22, p. 113-114, n. 23, p. 115-116, n. 24, p. 117-118, n. 25, p.119-120, n. 30, p. 132-133, n.31, p.134-135, n. 32, p.136-137, n. 34, p.141-142, n. 35, p.143-144, n. 39, p.151-152, n. 41, p. 155-156].
     

Project Team

Yuliana Boycheva

RICONTRANS Project Director
Curriculum vitae

Christos Hadziiossif

Emeritus professor of modern and contemporary history - FORTH Distinguished member