THE ICON OF THE VIRGIN AND THE CHILD WITH ARCHANGELS, AND SAINTS. WORK OF THE ARTIST-PRIEST EMMANUEL TZANES (1668) FROM THE SACRISTY OF THE MONASTERY OF VARLAAM / METEORA-THESSALY
Abstract: The monastery of Varlaam is located in the north-west of Thessaly amongst the group of monasteries known as Meteora. The monastery has been founded by the hiero-monks brothers Nektarios and Theophanes Apsaras from Epiros, who were descended from the noble family of Apsaras. Amongst thetreasures of the Varlaam monastery is the icon (dimensions: 47,3 x 48 x 2 cm) of the Virgin holding the Christ child with archangels (Michael, Gabriel) on either side and surrounded by the apostles and evangelists (Peter, Paul, John the Theologian, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Andrew, Simon, Philip, Jacob, Bartholomew, Thomas) as well as the hierarch saints (Nicolas, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, Basil, Spyridon) along the vertical and horizontal borders. The inscription, under the archangel Michael, gives the names of the donors: «†δέησης / τῴν δούλ(ων)/τοῦ Θε(οῦ) (Στ)αυρινοῦ/καί γεωργίου τῷν/τζαμαντῷν». The icon as we infer from the first part of the inscription is offered by two donors, Stavrinos and George descended from the Epirotian family of Tzamandon. Perhaps this is the “Tzamanta” family from Ioannina, who had relocated to the island of Zakynthos in 1672 for business interests. In the second part of the inscription under the archangel Gabriel we read: «αχξΗ» (=1668) «χείρ/ἐμμανουήλ/ἱερέως τοῦ/τζάνε». This must refer to the Cretan painter, the priest Emmanuel Tzanes from Rethymnon/Crete. The icon is dated 1668 – as the majority of his dated works – and belongs to his Venetian period (1658-1690).
Authors: Chatzouli, Glykeria
Source: Konštatínove listy, 2022, vol.: 15, issue: 1, pages: 53-75 (PDF file)
Keywords: POST-BYZANTINE PERIOD, METEORA/THESSALY, MONASTERY OF VARLAAM, EMMANUEL TZANES, CRETAN ICONS