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The Hand of Angelos An Icon Painter in Venetian Crete by Angeliki E. Laiou, Chryssa Maltezou, Maria Kazanaki-Lappa, Nano Chatzidaki


The Hand of Angelos An Icon Painter in Venetian Crete by Angeliki E. Laiou, Chryssa Maltezou, Maria Kazanaki-Lappa, Nano Chatzidaki

A tumultuous period in history, the late Byzantine era bore witness to bloody power struggles that dramatically changed the geographical, political and social landscape of a region and its people. Among the many shifts during this time of flux was the switch of major artistic production from Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, to Candia, the capital of Venetian-occupied Crete.Exploring the life and work of Angelos Akotantos, the most significant artist active in Venetian Crete, The Hand of Angelos provides groundbreaking insights into a key figure and the period in which he worked. Offering contextual discussion, the authors, all experts in their fields, cover a range of themes including the contrasting economic and political fortunes of Constantinople and Candia, and the enduring cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire's capital within Crete. Within this contextual framework, Angelos Akotantos provides the focus for this unique book. Due to the large number of first-class icons that can be accurately, and reliably, attributed to him, plus the existence of his will (reproduced in full here) and other documents which shed light on his personality, the scholars writing here successfully demonstrate, through both essays and catalogue entries, the high artistic quality of the works created by the 'Hand of Angelos' - pieces which demonstrate preoccupations with both Constantinopolitan painting and elements adopted from western art. At the same time these works are of great interest iconographically, as they established and crystallised motifs which are repeatedly seen in the work of artists from later generations. Including over 80 colour reproductions, the outstanding imagery combined with first-class scholarship found here will attract and entrance a wide spectrum of readers. This is an indispensable resource and a visual delight.


'It is hard to imagine a more distinguished group of contributors than the ones assembled here. [...]The catalogue will stand apart from previous scholarship on this subject because it is focused specifically on Crete [and addresses] the kernel of the Cretan question : namely, how did the restless little socially mixed, commercially dynamic cities on the fringe of an island of peasant small-holders assume the artistic mantle of Constantinople and turn it into a Renaissance art-industry? This catalogue addresses that kernel through the person of Angelos. Angelos is the product of a generation's scholarly effort, and it is exciting to see the components of his painstaking construction laid out here - historical, artistic, economic, social.'
Annemarie Weyl

-Carr, Distinguished Professor of Art History Emerita Southern Methodist University Dallas '...move[s[ the entire field forward...provides new insight into the late Byzantine icon...brilliant array of scholars...a convincing vision of the period...stimulating volume...offer[s] immense opportunities for discussion and debate...' -Studies in Iconography, Volume 33, 2012 ' ... offers extensive formal analysis and abundant bibliography and is beautifully illustrated with color photographs ... offers Western audiences a chance to see and appreciate the complexity and richness of Angelos's art ...

About the Author

Maria Vassilaki is Associate Professor in Byzantine Art at the University of Thessaly and a Research Associate at the Benaki Museum. She has curated several exhibitions and edited many catalogues including Mother of God. Her books include The Painter Angelos and Icon-Painting in Venetian Crete. She is widely published in many art journals.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th November 2010


Angeliki E. Laiou, Chryssa Maltezou, Maria Kazanaki-Lappa, Nano Chatzidaki

More books by Angeliki E. Laiou, Chryssa Maltezou, Maria Kazanaki-Lappa, Nano Chatzidaki
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Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd


256 pages


History of art: Byzantine & Medieval art c 500 CE to c 1400



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