THE SPLENDOUR OF HEAVEN
Greek Icons from the Velimezis Collection
The icons presented in this exhibition come from the Velimezis Collection, which was formed during the years 1934-46, by Emilios Velimezis (1902-1946). The Collection initially comprised approximately 90 icons from various regions of Greece, dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
In this important reassembly, the artistic tendencies in Greece after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, are decently represented. The majority of the icons were produced in work-shops of painters in Venetian-held Crete (15th – 16th century), where icon-painting flourished. The Virgin Hodegetria, the Virgin Glykophilousa from the circle of Andreas Ritzos, The Triumph of Orthodoxy, Saint John the Baptist and the icon illustrating The Twenty - four Stanzas of the Akathistos Hymn to the Virgin, are among the most splendid examples of these.
The most important work of this period, the masterpiece of the Collection, is the icon in the form of a small altarpiece with the representation of The Passion of the Christ – Pietà with angels, a work of western character painted by Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco ) in the technique of Cretan icons, before his departure from his native Crete.
A considerable number of icons in the Collection come from the workshops of Cretan painters, such as Emmanuel Tzanes, who sought refuge in the Ionian Islands and Venice after the surrender of Candia (Herakleion) to the Ottoman Turks. (1669). Local workshops in the Ionian Islands are also presented with icons such as that of Saint Spyridon by Nikolaos Kallergis, as well as workshops in Northern Greece with works like The Epistyle of an iconostasis, in three pieces with the figures of the Apostles, from the area of western Macedonia.