Leafing through Seminarium Kondakovianum, I. Studies on Byzantine Illumination

Title: Leafing through Seminarium Kondakovianum, I. Studies on Byzantine Illumination
Variant title:
  • Listování Seminariem Kondakovianem, I. Studie o byzantských iluminacích
Source document: Convivium. 2016, vol. 3, iss. 1, pp. 206-213
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
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According to the Russian art historian Nikodim Kondakov, Byzantine illumination was less affected by religious and political interferences than monumental art, and should therefore be considered as the most authentic expression of Byzantine art and the most useful field in enabling scholars to understand the development of Byzantine art through the centuries. Even following this statement, Seminarium Kondakovianum – founded in honor of Kondakov, and printed in Prague between 1927 and 1938 (plus a 1940 issue realized in Belgrade) – published during the 1920s and the 1930s just five articles concerning Byzantine illumination, a scarce number considering the importance Kondakov gave to their study. This paper focuses on them, examining both the different methodological approaches and the interesting choices of the manuscripts presented. Malickij, Kosteckaja and Grabar followed strictly the "iconographic methodology" recommended by Kondakov, and the first two even wrote about a subject already studied by Kondakov in the late nineteenth century, the Moscovite Chludov Psalter. This methodological hegemony was partially interrupted by Kurt Weitzmann, who, in a 1937 article, focused more on the formal aspects than on the iconography of the miniatures depicted in the Tetraevangelion of Skevophylakion.