‘…κέ παντός του λαου τοῡ χορίου τ(ης) Μάζας…’
Communal Patronage of Church Decoration in Rural Venetian Crete

Lymberopoulou, Angeliki (2020). ‘…κέ παντός του λαου τοῡ χορίου τ(ης) Μάζας…’
Communal Patronage of Church Decoration in Rural Venetian Crete.
In: The Art of the Poor The Aestehtic Material Culture of the Lower Classes in Europe 1300-1600 (Duits, Rembrandt ed.), Bloomsbury, London, pp. 53–63.

URL: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-art-of-the-poor-...

Abstract

The island of Crete came under Venetian domination during the division of the territories of the Byzantine Empire in the aftermath of the fourth Crusade in 1204. It remained a colony of the Serenissima between 1211 and 1669, a period which culturally consists one of the most prolific in the island’s long history. The plethora of monumental decoration that survives in rural areas of the island testifies to a thriving artistic production that reveals on the one hand an adherence to the Byzantine iconography and style and on the other a social interaction between the native Greek Orthodox Cretan and the Venetian Roman Catholic colonists. This social interaction facilitated trade, which in turn enabled the inhabitants of rural Crete to be able to afford religious art for their community.

Byzantine art is regularly associated with the glamour of expensive material and sparkling gold backgrounds. At the same time the portrait of the donor has received in recent years the attention it deserves in scholarship. This paper however aims at bringing to the foreground of artistic production donorship with a difference, based not on individual wealth, but rather on a collective purse of limited strength that nevertheless managed to produce a huge number of tiny monuments which to the present day dominate the magnificent Cretan landscape.

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