‘Written on the tablets of the heart’: The Art of Icon Painting by a Georgian Monk at Sinai

By Maria Lidova,  Junior Research Fellow at Oxford University

Date: 22 June 2021, 3:00pm

The talk is delivered within Aesthetics, Art, and Architecture in the Caucasus Lecture Series in cooperation with the George Chubinashvili National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation.

This paper is dedicated to a group of six icons dated between the late 11th and early 12th century and preserved in St. Catherine’s monastery at Mt. Sinai. Although part of an incredibly rich and exceptional collection, these panel paintings stand out for a number of reasons. The four icons from the series represent a detailed calendar cycle gathering together numerous representations of saints venerated daily over the course of the liturgical year. They were originally placed at the center of a polyptych, flanked by an icon of the Last Judgement on the right side, and a second panel bearing representations of five miraculous icons of the Virgin and a narrative cycle dedicated to the Miracles and Passions of Christ on the left.

Maria Lidova is an art historian working on Byzantine, late antique and Western Medieval art. She studied in Russia, Italy, and France and worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the ‘Empires of Faith’ project at the British Museum and junior research fellow at Oxford University. She has held fellowships at Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz and American Academy in Rome and was one of the curators of the ‘Imagining the Divine’ exhibition held at the Ashmolean Museum in 2017-2018. She is currently working on a research project dedicated to the study of little-known apocrypha in relation to early medieval transfer of relics and the cult of Eastern saints in Rome. Her recent publications include an overview of the nineteenth-century scholarship of late antique art in Russia “The Rise of Byzantine Art and Archaeology in Late Imperial Russia”, in Empires of Faith in Late Antiquity: Histories of Art and Religion from India to Ireland, ed. by Jaś Elsner (Cambridge, 2019); a paper on the twelfth-century Annunciation icon “Incarnation Revealed: The Ustyug Icon and Annunciation Imagery in Middle Byzantine Art”, in The Announcement. Annunciations and Beyond, ed. by H. Gründler, I. Sapir and A. Nova (Berlin, 2020); and calendar imagery in panel painting Martyrs, Prophets, Monks. Calendar Icons in the Collection of St Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai (11th-12th C.), in: IKON, 2021.

For additional information, please visit: https://www.khi.fi.it/en/aktuelles/veranstaltungen/2021/06/Maria-Lidova-Written-on-the-tablets-of-the-heart.php