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Athos Holy Mount

Byzantine Minor Arts
9.70 Book Cover, for a Gospel Book printed in Venice 1793
Pantokrator Monastery
Silver, parcel-gilt
36 x 27 cm
Bakalakis of Mesolongi


The Original New Testament

A large oval medallion in the centre of the front cover displays the scene of the Crucifixion, with the Virgin and St John standing on either side of the Cross; behind John is the figure of the centurion. This scene is framed by a rococo border which runs around the perimeter of the medallion, giving it a suggestion of a cross shape. Smaller medallions in the corners contain busts of the prophets David, Moses, Jeremiah (HPM) and Isaiah (IC)·; these medallions are joined by silver strips decorated with stylized palmettes in relief. Four angel heads, each flanked by a pair of star-shaped rosettes, are set in the corners between the central medallion and the border; a seraph occupies the space above it, while beneath it is an elongated and slightly cruciform medallion engraved with the following inscription: 1800/ ANΔPE/A KEXAΓIA KAI TON / ΓONEON MYCOΛO/ΓΓ(I)TIC MΠAKA/ΛAKYC (`1800. Andreas Kechayias and his parents. Bakalakis of Mesolongi'). The arrangement of the silver ornamentation forms the customary cross against the dark velvet of the binding.

The medallions on the back cover are disposed in the same way, the central medallion displaying the Resurrection and the corner medallions the four Evangelists. In place of the dedicatory medallion is one of the same shape, but uninscribed.

On the inside faces, strips of silver with palmette bands in relief cover the three free edges.

The decorative composition of this gospel cover is representative of a style prevalent from the middle of the eighteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century (Ikonomaki-Papadopoulou 1980, p. 9, fig. 4). The Bakalakis of Mesolongi mentioned in the inscription is presumably the craftsman who made the cover.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

I.-A. P.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Pantokrator
19th century

The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Icon of the Mother of God and New Testament Reader Promote Greek Learning
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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