On April 5 of 2003 in building C of the Port of Thessaloniki the exhibit “Manuel Panselinos From the Holy Church of the Protaton” was opened, which the Mount Athos Center organized as part of the exhibits of the “Cultural Olympics”.
For the first time, the unique works of the top iconographer from Thessaloniki, Manuel Panselinos, from the Holy Church of the Protaton of Karyes on The Holy Mountain, came into the public eye, in a unique exhibit, at the Port of Thessaloniki. The aim of the exhibit was to show and display the work and artistic personality of the painter Manuel Panselinos, the most important artist of the Paleologian era (1261-1453). Manuel Panselinos, a personality which moves between myth and reality, was mentioned in written tradition for the first time by the monk and iconographer Dionysios from the Fourna Evretania (beginning of the 18th century), in his book “Interpretation of the Art of Painting.” Because of his great skill, he obtained tremendous fame and is considered to be the primary representative of the Macedonian school of painting. The basic characteristics of the painting of Panselinos in the Church of the Protaton, is the monumentality of the compositions, the autonomy and self-sufficiency of the forms within the synthesis, the delicateness of the colors and the revival of themes from later Greek antiquity. A basic locus of the exhibit was the frescoes from the church of the Protaton on the Holy Mountain, which constitute the peak of artistic expression of Byzantine Hellenism and one of the most important collections of world political heritage. Around this central section, a second section develops, with the aim of showing the work of the artist and the workshop that was attributed to him, according to the findings of recent scientific research. Placed in the final section is also the presentation of the frescoes taken from the chapel of Saint Efthemios in the church of Saint Dimitrios in Thessaloniki, with the purpose of making the icon more well known, for the work and the personality of this great artist, while simultaneously, strengthening the tradition which Dionysios of Fourna recorded about Panselinos’ ancestry from Thessaloniki.
The exhibit was accompanied by an extensive and valuable catalogue, rivaling, both in terms of quality and emotion the exhibit, the texts of which the top scientists have signed: Efthemios Chigaridas, Professor of Christian Art and Architecture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Kriton Chrisochoidis, Director of the Institute of Byzantine Studies, Dimitrios Abonis, Architect, Chrisanthi Tsioumbi, Archaeologist-Professor of The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, George Trantifillidis, Architect, Professor Emeritus of Architecture of The University of Thessaly, Dimitra Gourioti, Architectural Engineer.
For the rest of this exhibit, a special committee was established, comprised of representatives from the Holy Community of Mount Athos and representatives from the governing council of the Mount Athos Center.
The Museological study of the exhibit was written by Efthymios Tsigaridas, Professor of Christian Art and Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
The architectural plan and transcription of the space of the exhibit was done by Georgos Triantafillidis and Dimitra Gourioti, who had conducted the museographical study of the top exhibit of “Treasures of Mount Athos.”