29 Apr 2020

Roads of Balkan Icon-Painters hot off the press


The book Roads of Balkan Icon-Painters came out amid the coronavirus pandemic with the imposed social distancing and self-isolation stringent measures. It was compiled under the Ministry of Education and Science’s Cultural and Historical Heritage, National Memory and Social Development programme by a team led by Prof. Biserka Penkova (ed.), Institute of Art Studies, BAS. Members of the team: Assoc. Prof. Margarita Kujumdzhieva, Assoc. Prof. Ivan Vanev, Asst. Prof. Tsveta Kuneva, Asst. Prof. Maya Zaharieva, Asst. Prof. Maria Kolusheva, Asst. Prof. Tsvetan Vasilev.
The book seeks to demonstrate the wealth of the Balkan artistic heritage of the post-Byzantine period by presenting monuments of monumental church painting from Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania. The included mural ensembles have been selected purposefully to form several groups, each of which defines a certain line in the dynamic interplay within what is now Bulgaria between the major Balkan art hubs in the period between the fifteenth and the turn of the seventeenth century. Basic textual and visual information is provided about 29 churches and their murals within what are now Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania. The articles are focused on the links between these murals and other Balkan monuments as demonstrated by examples and parallels that in their turn allow for tracing the spread of the art influences along some of the roads taken by the teams of painters.
Foreign consultants played a significant role in the fulfilment of the research tasks. With the collaboration of Svetlana Pejić (Serbia), Viktorija Popovska-Korobar (North Macedonia) and Ioannis Sisiou (Greece) fieldwork outside this country was conducted and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude for the selflessly shared information and the productive discussions. Thanks to the professional translation by Asst. Prof. Maria Totomanova-Paneva and Atanas Igov, the book will reach a wider readership. Daniel Nechev’s is its designer.
Hopefully, this bilingual book will help promote the monuments of Orthodox culture of the period between the fifteenth and the seventeenth centuries not from Bulgaria alone, but also from the Balkan countries, drawing attention to their exploration and preservation and facilitating the deepening of the integration processes within the Balkan research and cultural domains.
The book will be launched at the earliest opportunity.