1.4 St Athanasios
St Paul Monastery
Fresco, 54 x 45 cm
This fresco fragment depicting St Athanasios the Athonite probably comes from the decoration of the old katholikon in the Monastery of St Paul, built in 1447 by the Serbian ruler G. Brancovic (Millet - Pargoire - Petit 1904, no. 426, p. 143) and demolished in 1839. The head of this saint, although painted in the fifteenth century, adheres faithfully to the iconographical type of St Athanasios the Athonite preserved in works of the so-called Macedonian School, such as the frescoes in the church of the Protaton on Mount Athos (Millet 1927, pl. 54.3). In the St Paul's fresco, however, the stylisation of volumes, the rigidity of line and the dryness of painting are quite evident. Despite the inferiority of this painting to its models, the head of St Athanasios in the Monastery of St Paul has its own significance, given that - belonging as it does to a precisely dated monument - it reflects the artistic trends current in the second quarter of the fifteenth century on Mount Athos and in Macedonia, which are characterised by the return to prototypes of the so-called Macedonian School.
Bibliography: Sophronios 1959, pl. 88. Xyngopoulos 1959, pp. 61-7, pl. XI.1. Xyngopoulos 1964, pp. 255-6. Lazarev 1967, p. 385 n. 136. Djuric 1968, pl. XXVII. Djuric 1976, pp. 158-9. Tsigaridas 1993, p. 341, fig. 54.