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Contributions to the History of Art in Dalmatia, Vol.29 No.1 February 1991. -

Icons of the Creto-Venetian school were noticed in Dalmatia a long time ago. Although scientific oppinions and even the precise title of this particular style based both on byzantine and western venetian influences differ S. Bettini and other Italian school, while Greeks, among them most prominent M. Chatzidakis emphasize the role of the Crete – thus Cretan school the number of these icons constantly increse in Greece, Italy and Dalmatia. In this article the authoress on the example of two newly discovered icons from Dalmatia – from the Orthodox churches of Drniš and Skradin well known by the signed icon of the Last Judgement by Georgius Margazinis gives a synthetic view on the problem of the Creto-Venetian school emphasizing the existence of the school in the real meaning of the word. Although Creto-Venetian school has been recognized in 16th and 17 th centuries around the Greek community and the church San Giorgio dei Greci in Venice, the school must have existed even in the 15 th century, but on the island of Crete. It is not easy to believe that such a number of painters well known from Cattapan’s documents didn’t have artistic connections, expecially when documents prove several apprenticeships: Angelo Accotanto-Giovanni Acotanto – Andrea Rizo – Nicola Rizo, Andrea Pavia – Antonio Papadopouli, or Andrea Pavia – Angelo Bizamano.

The formation of the Creto-Venetian school in the 15 th century has not been explained yet although we know the main works and the names of the painters, but we don’t know either the exact place or the exact time of their activity. The contribution of the authenitic Createn painting of the 14 th and 15 th centuries is indisputable in the formation of the School but still a link is missing between of the 15 th centuries.

Venice is in the possesion of the Crete from the 1204 til 1669 and the influence of its painting had to be strongly present on the island even before 15 th century, although the Venetian painting itself is based on the experience of the byzantine painters. The absorbed and modified bysantinism »alla veneziana« will last in Venice from Paolo Veneziano to Crivellis. Only the powerful mercantile Republic of St. Mark could give to Creatan painting an international fame, but with certain modifications. So a hybrid style is born. It is an eclectis one because together with byzantine elements in the same time takes fragments of the Gothic, Renaissance or even Baroque art and uses them in its own way, never managing to absorb real space and volume.

In spite of the Cretan byzantine origins in the formation of this school, it cannot be understood without very strong influences of the Venetian Trecento. The influence of the gothyc style is even more stressed on the Holly Trinity icon from Drniš than on the works of Rizos, Pavia or Zafuri. The western iconography and gothic moulding of the draperies are combined with byzantine technology and programme. The result is byzantine essence wrapped in gothic forms. The double formation and thus the doubble capacity of the Cretan painters to work »alla greca« and »alla latina« is obvious in this icon but the difference between this Holly trinity and other, almost the same iconographic subjects, is in individualism and emotions of the latter. Cretan painters were brought up in strong tradition of icon painting which excludes any personal attitude and the result is a strong hieratic vision of the Divine. Holly Trinity icon is compared with works of Andrea Rizo and Andrea Pavia and is dated in the second half of the 15th century. The resemblances are found with icons of Angelo Acotanto founder of the Acotanto pictorial school from which Andrea Rizo emerged, one of the most important Cretan painters of 15th century.

The Imago Pitetatis icon from Skradin in the traditional scheme Western world took from Byzance, is analysed and dated in the first half of the 15th century compared with other examples of Imago Pietatis by Nicola Zafuri and others from the beginning of the 16th century.

The autoress streses the possible role of Dalmatia between Crete and Venice. The question of the Dalmatian byzantinism is not solved yet. Dalmatia received most of its icons by trade but from 13th to 17th century collonies of Greek painters exist in Kotor, Dubrovnik and Zadar. The geographic position of Dalmatia had to make a certain role in the mutual interreactions of Crete and Venice. Dalmatia received byzantinism but is also accepted and reshaped it. The most significant example are local variations of the Andrea Rizo’s icon of the Virgin in Ston. As artistic outskirts of strong artistic centres such as Venice and Constantinopole both Dalmatia and Crete had a freedom to develop a creative artistic activity – Crete a double one – which enabled a mixture of styles.

In the 15th century which was the time of its formation, Creto-Venetian school, had its themes, obvious combination of both byzantine and venetian art and a solid technology. In that early period it was new and fresh with new themes and iconographic types to be followed in few next centuries. From 15 th to 17 th century Creto-Venetian school will preserve the procedures and models of byzantine Paleologue painting and Venetian Gothic or Renaissance, which during centuries will slowly vanish on the retarded petrified Madonnas, Imago Pietatis or bassanesque Nativities. It seems paradoxical but Creto-Venetian school seems to be the delayed and of the Venetian Quattrocento and Cinquecento. Loosing its »international« venetian element Creto-Venetian school ceases and scatters in the space leaving from Greece to the Adriatic numerous local schools. On the numerous icons of the 18 th century apparently everything is the same: the motives, iconography and technology with dominant bysantinism. But icons are rigid and poor. After the Creto-Venetian school the icons of the Mediterranean imerge into popular, almost naïve painting.



Autor: Zoraida Demori-Staničić - ; Regionalni zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture u Splitu

Fuente: http://hrcak.srce.hr/



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