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Zoraida Demori-Staničić ; Državna uprava za zaštitu kulturne i prirodne baštine, Glavno povjerenstvo u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 6.490 Kb

str. 321-332

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Puni tekst: engleski pdf 6.490 Kb

str. 333-334

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There exists in Dalmatia a group of icons of Our Lady With Child which have the same stylistic form as the icon in the Mimara museum in Zagreb. All these icons are painted on a dark background varying in colour from red and blue to silver. The faces and hands of Our Lady and Child are painted, while the clothes, haloes and crowns are done in pastiglia in shallow relief and covered with silvery leaves. Many lines suggesting pleats in clothing,crowns and haloes with curly or geometrical ornaments are engraved into a uniform and gently protruding surface. The elements are differentiated by graphics rather than painting.On some of these icons, including the one from Zagreb, the name Skopiotissa is engraved in Greek letters, clearly identifying them. Names according to which icons become famous are most often derived from places, churches or monasteries where they were originally venerated. Inscriptions and abbreviations of represented names are necessary components of icons,entering into the very essence of their theology and their connection with the archetype. In the same way that representation of a person in an icon is not a mere illustration, but represents an archetype- therefore the icon is the very person which is represented - the identifying inscription reflects the archetype. The veneration relates to the name of the represented in the same way as it does to the painted image.The identifying inscription of these icons clearly denotes the geographical origin of the cult: the monastery of Skopos on the Island of Zacynthus in the middle of the Ionian Sea. Both the inscription and the structure of the icon, which with minor variations is frequently repeated, clearly demonstrate the affirmed cult of Our Lady. The well-known Venetian chronicler Flaminio Cornaro confirmed this. During a flight of Panvenetianism, in 1761 he noted in detail all well-known cults of Our Lady in the area of the Venetian Republic. He described all pictures and statues of Our Lady, with historic enumeration of the shrines which were created around them. He wrote several pages on the cult of Our Lady from the shrine of Skopos on Zacynthus. The iconographic type at the time of Cornaro was already established and supported by an unambiguous inscription. The copper-etched illustration of the icon of Skopiotissa from Cornaro' s book shows Our Lady as a Hodigitria to the waist, with the Child on her left arm. The child is blessing with the right hand holding a closed volume in his left hand. Although it is difficult to establish the detailed stylistic characteristics of the icon from the schematic nature of the illustration, it is clear that the Mimara and the other Dalmatian icons imitate it almost completely.In view of the distribution of the icons of Skopiotissa, there is a clear concentration of the cult within the Ionian and Adriatic Seas to Venice and Ravenna. The cause of such popularity is noted already by F. Cornaro: Our Lady of Skopiotissan was particularly venerated by seamen. Via the most important sea-ports of Boka Kotorska, Orebić, Korčula, the islands of Bračand Hvar, Split, the Kaštela, Krapanj and Šibenik, the cult of Our Lady of Skopiotissa spread throughout Venetian Dalmatia. The icons of Skopiotissa as pictures intended for private or public veneration were carried by captains and seamen. They were venerated in the houses of captains and tradesmen. Their veneration in churches and monasteries was related most probably to the custom of family pictures being left to posterity as votive gifts. Skopiotissa in Pučišća has a clear votive inscription by the Brač nobleman Nikola Moro.The Dalmatian Skopiotiss as are known in two variants. One is the already-described Hodigitria with Child on the left arm, like the original from Zacynthus. The icons from Zagreb, Pučisća, Poljud and Hvar and Split belong to this group, with small variations. The icons of Mimara, Pučišća, Poljud and Hvar are flanked ,however, by hanging chandeliers with eternal lights. They hang from three chains, and give light symbolising the power of Christ- of light, and the light which he gave to the people. Burners soaked in oil, also give light to Our Lady, the light of Glory since she has recieved God- the light- into her lap. The other type represents only the bust of Our Lady. The head is slightly inclined to the right, her look is sad and her hands are crossed on her breast in a humble gesture of prayer. Perhaps this type can be considered as a representation of Our Lady of Sadness, as suggested by M. Bianco Fiorin. The crowning of Our Lady has been added to several icons of this group. The inscription (Greek inscription) on one of them precisely defines them semantically.The group of icons of Skopiotissa does not fit stylistically into the well-known iconographic schools of the 17th and 18th centuries, nor into the Greek or the well-known and stylistically recognisable Cretan school. But these atypical and hybrid icons represent, by their number and characteristics,a clear stylistic form distinct within paintings of icons. The dominant and pronounced use of line of firm opaque dark shadows (although the flesh colour attempts to acquire the softness and roundness of the Cretan school), and the geometry, achromatism and monochromy form their common stylistic features,with a characteristic pastiglia and the use of silver. It can be supposed that along with the influence of Russian, Greek and Cretan icons of that time,the painters of Zacynthus, Cefalonia and Corphu developed what M. Hatdzidakis calls »the style of the Ionian Islands« within which icons of Our Lady were developed. Such convincing archaism, the emphasis on the patina where the old silver glimmers on red, green and blue backgrounds effectively stimulates popular piety. These Skopiotissas, more venerated in the West than within the Orthodox Church, are a real impetus to such feelings. Of schematic character and as a sign of deity, rather than a work of art, they carry characteristics of popular art.

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