Byzantine Painting through Contemporary Eyes: Hermeneutics of Spiritual Vision

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By: Uros Todorovic

This book takes a large theme—the affinity that has been perceived between the aspirations of modernist art and the canons of the Orthodox icon, as recovered a century ago—and seeks to explore it by looking at Byzantine art from the eleventh century to El Greco, on the way drawing in fourteenth-century hesychast theory which, in exploring the metaphysical presuppositions of the prayer of the heart, deepened the practice of Byzantine iconography (meaning by practice both the artistic intentions of the iconographers and the apophatic intentionality of those who engaged in hesychast prayer), as well as exploring the pull towards abstraction present in the frescoes of Mistra, and the way in which the depiction of Christ’s birth in the cave recalls the abstraction of pre-historic cave paintings—as well as bringing the presuppositions of Byzantine iconography to bear on understanding the modernism of Kandinsky, Malevich, and Rothko—all this demonstrated with an intellectual rigor, not blunted by the range of Todorović’s imagination, and with his imaginative flights supported, rather than reined in, by the integrity of his intellect.

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Language: English
Published: 2023