Regional Museum Jagodina
O PROBLEMU NIMBOVA NA MINIJATURAMA U RUKOPISU PARISINUS GRAECUS 1242
ON THE PROBLEM OF HALOS IN THE MINIATURES OF CODEX PARISINUS GRAECUS 1242
Journal 10/2014 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 7-17
Abstract (original language):
Navodni nedostatak nimbova na portretima vizantijskog cara Jovana VI Kantakuzina – monaha Joasafa u rukopisu Parisinus graecus 1242, predstavljao je osnovu za stvaranje više teorija o razlozima izostanka tog simboličnog detalja. Imajući u vidu da su retki primeri vladarskih predstava bez nimba, autor članka je preduzeo posebno istraživanje rukopisa u pariskoj Nacionalnoj biblioteci. Pažljiva analiza pokazala je da su nimbovi ipak izvedeni na sva tri Kantakuzinova portreta, a da razlog njihove slabije vidljivosti treba tražiti u lošoj očuvanosti portreta i različitoj tehnici izvođenja. Tokom ispitivanja rukopisa uočen je do sada previđen oblik složenog oreola oko Hristove glave u sceni Preobraženja, za koji su potražene odgovarajuće paralele u srednjovekovnoj građi i ponuđena tumačenja.
Key words: (original language)
Vizantija, ikonografija, iluminacija, nimb, Jovan Kantakuzin
In the scholarly literature, there is an assumption that Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos – monk Joasaph was not painted with a halo around his head in three portraits of his that appear in a manuscript of his theological writings (Par. gr. 1242). The assumed absence of the symbolic detail, which is omitted from representations of rulers very rarely, has led certain scholars to suggest a variety of theories about the reasons for such a practice. Bearing in mind the importance of presence or absence of halos in iconography, the author of this essay took on a special task to investigate the original manuscript Par. gr. 1242, preserved in the fundus of Bibliothèque nationale in Paris.
The close analysis of the miniatures showed that the halos were represented in all three portraits of Kantakouzenos, and the reason for the earlier arguments of the scholars that the halos do not exist is their partial damage, as well as their weak visibility that is the result of various techniques of execution of this particular detail in each of the portraits. In the Emperor's portrait on the f. 5v, the halo is painted brown, and the traces of the pigment can be discerned only when looked at through a converging lens. The same goes for the miniature on the f. 123v, where Kantakouzenos is represented as both ruler and monk, beneath the representation of The Holy Trinity, with halos whose circumferences are deeply engraved onto the golden foundation of the background of the representation.
During the process of analysis, the author noticed the so far overlooked form of the complex halo around Christ's head in the miniature with the representation of the Transfiguration of Christ. The author also points at two examples of iconographical parallels, the icon of Christ the Pantocrator from the National Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the fresco with the torso of Christ the Ancient of Days from the tympanum above the entrance of the Church of Saint Apostles in the Patriarchate of Peć.
In the conclusion, the author stressed the importance of intitulation of the ruler in the Kantakouzenos' double portrait, which is inscribed only alongside his imperial aspect. Bearing in mind that even after his abdication and taking monastic vows his contemporaries continued to address him as Emperor, which he himself had done as well, Kantakouzenos' double portrait reflects the state of affairs, i.e., his deep influence on almost all church-political developments in Byzantium, so that the miniatures represent the direct visual reflection of the contents of the codex, the purpose of which was to celebrate, as a whole, the role of the former Emperor in Byzantine and European history of the fourteenth century.
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