9 Nov 2017

A notable achievement of BAS and Bulgarian humanities

The 89th General Assembly of the Union Académique Internationale (UAI) was held 22–26 October 2017 in Tokyo at the invitation of the Japan Academy. The event was attended by representatives of 64 academies and research institutes in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences from around the world. The Union Académique International has its seat in Brussels and has in its more than a century-long history represented the interests of humanities internationally. BAS is a full-fledged member of the Union and since 2015 the membership fees have been jointly divided between the members. Such fundamental and long-term projects as Tabula Imperii Romani, Corpus Vasorum, Tabula Imperii Byzantini, etc., have been implemented under the aegis of the UAI. This year’s General Assembly’s session included a presentation of a new project, titled Corpora of Premodern Christian Orthodox Mural Painting, initiated by the Institute of Art Studies, BAS in collaboration with the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Romanian Academy and the Academy of Sciences of Albania. The project was presented by Assoc. Prof. Emmanuel Moutafov on 22 October at the Assembly Hall. The delegate of the Academy of Athens, Acad. Chryssa Maltezou regarded the new project of BAS as challenging the already existing Corpus de la peinture monumentale Byzantine and tried to obstruct it pushing the term ’Post-Byzantine’ with regard to the art output of the Balkans in the Ottoman period. During a heated discussion, the representative from Bulgaria succeeded in convincing the delegates the term ‘Post-Byzantine’ was politically incorrect in regard to the art output of the nations that had independent states in the medieval period. Prof. Dr. Madeline H. Caviness (American Council of Learned Societies) and Prof. Dr. Claudia Rapp (Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik, Austrian Academy of Sciences) expressed unreserved support for the BAS project. As a result, the delegates, including the one from Greece voted massively in favour of the Corpora of Premodern Christian Orthodox Mural Painting project on 25 October 2017. It is the first project implemented under the aegis of the Union Académique International to be led by a Bulgarian institution pooling the efforts of renowned specialists in Christian art of the fifteenth through the nineteenth century from three more academies. The coordination centre for the management of the project will be based at the Institute of Art Studies, BAS and Assoc. Prof. Emmanuel Moutafov will lead the international team, which undoubtedly is international recognition of the established tradition emblematic of the Institute of Art Studies to publish corpora of the painting in the Bulgarian lands after the fifteenth century.