The aim of the proposed research project is to initiate the systematic study of this phenomenon in its various aspects: to follow the paths through which these icons were brought to Greece, to explore the identity of those who ordered and donated them, to analyze the dynamics and the various moving factors (religious, political, ideological) of this process during its various historical phases.
The Russian icons preserved in museums and church or monastery collections in Greece constitute a body of valuable monuments hitherto neglected by historians and historians of art. Their study is important not only for the history of late medieval Christian art but also for the exploration of the development of Russian-Greek cultural contacts and political relations in a wide period of time (15th to early 20th c.). The proposed research will focus on a relatively small but significant part of these objects: the collection of Russian icons preserved in the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and comprised of 100 icons created between the 16th and 19th centuries. The aim of the research project is at first place to acquaint the scientific community and the general public with this valuable collection through publications, scientific meetings and the preparation of an exhibition catalogue and a website. Furthermore, the proposed study aspires to initiate a wider research which will identify and incorporate, if possible, all the existing monuments of Russian ecclesiastical art in Greece and will study their dissemination in the context of the intensifying Greek-Russian cultural and political contacts from the early modern period onwards. The research will adopt an interdisciplinary and transnational approach employing research methods pertaining to both history and history of art, following the trajectory of these objects of art from their place of origin to their final destination and inscribing their story in the wider context of changing early modern and modern Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Its implementation is expected both to contribute to the filling of a significant scientific gap and to offer to the general public the opportunity to get acquainted with an important for Greece phenomenon of cultural transfer and influence.
Olga Gratziou (Emeritus Professor Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete and Honorary Member of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies/ FORTH)
Yuliana Boycheva (Postdoctoral researcher, Institute for Mediterranean Studies, in the framework of the “Support for Post-Doctoral Researchers” Action, co-funded by the European Social Fund [ESF] and the Greek government 2007-2013)
Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser/FORTH
Yuliana Α. Boycheva, Νίκος Καστρινάκης & Νικόλας Κωνστάντιος, «Ο Ζωντανός σταυρός», στο Ομιλούσες Εικόνες: Η διάδοση του θρησκευτικού πίνακα στη Ρωσία και στα Βαλκάνια, 16ος – 19ος αιώνας, κατάλογος έκθεσης (Αθήνα, Βυζαντινό και Χριστιανικό Μουσείο, 15 Ιανουαρίου - 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014), Αθήνα: Βυζαντινό και Χριστιανικό Μουσείο, 2014, 8-16.