This conference, which was devoted to the subject of art, focused on artistic currents and painting between the time of Dionysios of Fourna and that of Fotis Kontoglou and the contemporary iconographers’ workshops on Mount Athos. The papers dealt with the art of painting on Mount Athos from the 18th to the 20th centuries and the following subjects in particular: the tendency to return to the art of Panselinos; the great painters, such as Dionysios of Fourna, the Galatsianoi and the Nazarene painters; the synthesis of tradition and elements of Western painting; the influence of Russian art; the establishment and operation of iconographers’ workshops on Mount Athos, and the ideological conflict between tradition and modernity, in which the influence of Fotis Kontoglou played a major role.
The period explored by the conference is an exceptionally interesting one in the history of icon-painting on Mount Athos. Spanning the most recent three centuries, it is a period in which the indigenous painting of Athos either sought its roots in the great icon-painting schools of the past, or came under the dominant influence of the rich artistic output of Russia, or achieved a creative synthesis between tradition and elements of Western painting. Above all, however, it is characterised by the ideological conflict between tradition and modernity, in which the figure and influence of Fotis Kontoglou played a major role.
The papers presented on Dionysios of Fourna and the tendency to return to the art of Panselinos, together with those on the Galatsianoi and the Nazarene painters and the establishment and operation of iconographers’ workshops, as well as the pupils and dominance of Fotis Kontoglou, were all extremely original and illuminated aspects of the spiritual and cultural life of Mount Athos that were relatively unknown.
The proceedings of the conference, which was included as part of the programme of events of the 43rd Demetria Festival organised by the Municipality of Thessaloniki, commenced at 7 p.m. on Friday 7 November 2008 in the Conference Hall of the Thessaloniki Municipal Library and continued on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November 2008.
At the opening ceremony addresses were given by the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, and a representative of the Holy Community of Mount Athos.
The conference received messages of greeting from the Prime Minister, Mr Costas Karamanlis, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, His Beatitude Ieronymos II, the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr Demetrios Sioufas, the Minister of Tourism, Mr Aris Spiliotopoulos, the Civil Governor of Mount Athos, Mr Georgios Dalakouras, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, Mr Loukas Ananikas, the former Undersecretaries of State, Mr Georgios Orfanos and Mr Adam Rengouzas, and the MP Mr Apostolos Tzitzikostas.
On the first day of the conference, Mr Athanasios Paliouras, Emeritus Professor of the University of Ioannina, presented a paper on the theme ‘From Dionysios of Fourna to Fotis Kontoglou and from Kontoglou to the imitative quests: the problem of artistic self-knowledge in the 20th century’, while Hieromonk Loukas of Xenophontos Monastery presented a paper on the theme ‘The period from Dionysios of Fourna to Fotis Kontoglou as a prerequisite for resolving the problems in contemporary icon-painting’.
Date: 7-9 November 2008
Venue: Conference Hall of the Central Municipal Library
Conference programme: click here
Summaries of conference papers: click here
Conference Scientific Committee
Athanasios Paliouras, Emeritus Professor, University of Ioannina
Ioakeim Papangelos, Doctor of Archaeology
Georgios Kordis, Lecturer, Faculty of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, painter
Savvas Pantzaridis, doctoral candidate in theology
and, representing the Holy Community of Mount Athos,
Elder Symeon Dionysiates
Elder Nikodemos Agiopavlites
Organisation of Conference
Director: Demetrios Salpistis
Secretarial support: Anastasios Douros, Anastasia Gkiogki, Soteris Evangelopoulos
Technical support: Costas Tachtsidis