Romania, 1993. Icon - Martyrs from Brancoveanu and Vacarescu Families. Sc. 3853

The National Museum 

 of Art of Romania 

Byzantium after Byzantium 

Romania, 1993. Icon - St. Anthony. Sc. 3854

   The theory of the Byzantine permanence has today an ever increasing number of proponents. A radical branch of modern historiography placed the fall of the Lower Empire in 1204, with the establishing of the "Latins" in Constantinople; the chronology in most textbooks stops at the year of the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, 1453, when the Byzantine political power disappeared, destroyed by the armies of Mehmed II.

Romania, 1991. Putna Monastery. Sc. 3659. Romania, 1991. Agapia Monastery. Sc. 3661. Romania, 1991. Golia Monastery. Sc. 3662. Romania, 1991. Varatec Monastery. Sc. 3660.

    Nevertheless, historians no longer deny that for centuries, until the down of the modern age with the establishment of national states in Southeastern Europe, the institutions and ideas in this part of the world preserved and defended the only form of civilization to which they were culturally connected: those of Byzantium.

Romania, 1968. Moldovita Monastery Church. Sc. 2042. Romania, 1991. Sucevita Monastery. Sc. 3663. Romania, 1968. Cozia Monastery Church. Sc. 2043.

    The formula Byzantium after Byzantium concisely defines some of the most dramatic centuries of world history. It evokes the amazing vitality of the Hellenic-Latin synthesis which fulfilled throughout the Middle Ages the high calling to educate and guide people, even after they fell into a long period of slavery. It also points out the antecedents of a great part of European civilization which has its origins in this superb civilization, comprising all the best that the Old World had to offer. (After Virgil Candea, Introduction to Byzantium after Byzantium by Nicolae Iorga, ISBN 973-9432-09-3).

    The icon of Saints Simeon and Sava, shown on the right, is exposed in the National Museum of Arts of Romania. It originates from the cathedral Curtea de Arges. It's a Walachian workshop, painted between 1522 - 1523, tempera on wood.
    This votive icon belongs to the so-called group of "family icons" from the time of Prince Neagoe Basarab. His wife Despina Militza was the commissioner of the icon. She had close cultural links with her native Serbia, which accounts for the iconographic theme, the typology of the faces and the icon's execution, as well as for the presence of the two national Serbian saints. St. Simeon is depicted as a monk and St Sava as a bishop - a hint at the part he played in the organization of the Serbian Church in the 13th century.
     Kneeling in prayer at their feet is Despina Militza in mourning, following the death of her son, Teodosie (an event which dates the icon to 1522-1523). Next to her, the two princesses, Stana and Roxanda, are shown in the same attitude but wearing ceremonial costumes and gold crowns.
     Stylistically, the icon belong to 16th century Walachian painting. The modeling of faces, the oblong eyes, the angular folds of the costumes recall of mural painting in the cathedral Curtea de Arges, the work of a group of master painters directed by Dobromir of Targoviste (After Ana Dobjanschi, in "The National Museum of Art of Romania").

    The different stamps displayed above show monasteries and churches from Romania. Please move the mouse pointer over the stamps for more information.

Yugoslavia (20th April, 1968), Saints Simeon and Sava


    Please take also a look at the stamp from Yugoslavia (20th April, 1968), displaying the Saints Simeon and Sava.  It is an anonymous 15th century Croatian icon from Hilander / Sv. Gora, belonging to the National Museum in Belgrade.

Published: 06/09/2001. Revised: 01/12/02.
Copyright 2001 - 2002 by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.

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