Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Robert S. Nelson, Theodore Hagiopetrites: A Late Byzantine Scribe and Illuminator

Nelson, Robert S. (Fellow, 1986-87)

Vienna, Austria: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1991

From the publisher's description:

Because Greek manuscripts are essential sources for the history of Byzantine civilization, they have long been incorporated into the scholary narratives of diverse disciplines, ranging from philology and palaeolography to art history. The present study seeks to situate such objects within a different context, that of their manufacture, by exploring the career of a profilic copyist of Byzantine religious manuscripts, Theodore Hagiopetrites, active between 1277/78 and 1307/8 A.D. Seventeen of his signed manuscripts survived, sixteen of which are dated. Five others may be attributed to him, and five more can be assigned to related scribes. Because of the wealth of evidence available, Theodore's career and his impact on other scribes can be followed in unprecedented detail. Viewing his oeuvre in chronological order reveals that the scribe also executed the ornament in his manuscripts, but engaged separate miniatures to paint the evangelist portraits in his Gospel books. His first efforts as scribe and illuminator were rudmentary, but by the 1290s he had transformed his style of ornament with the aid of earlier models, so that his manuscripts come to resemble the finest products of contempory Constantinople. Several clues suggest, however, that Theodore worked in Thessaloniki. His oeuvre, therefore, constitutes evidence for the production of deluxe manuscript illumination in the second city of the Byzantine Empire

Subjects: Religion; History;; Illuminated Manuscripts; Scribes; Byzantine Empire