A One-Day Workshop at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
Sponsored by the AG Leventis Foundation
The mosaics of Thessaloniki provide the most comprehensive ensemble of Byzantine mosaics in the world, with examples from late antiquity right through to the fourteenth century. They present remarkable testimony to the skills of artists throughout the Byzantine millennium, and give insights into many aspects of Byzantine society and belief. They also document the changing concerns of the city and its relationship with the earthly and divine worlds. The publication of The Mosaics of Thessaloniki, 4th-14th century (Athens: Kapon editions, 2012), edited by C. Bakirtzis, E. Kourkoutidou-Nikolaidou and Ch. Mavropoulou-Tsiumi, has provided an exemplary documentation of the mosaics in the city, with photographs of exceptional quality. In the light of this book as well as the growing quantity of recent work on the mosaics this workshop will look once more at the issues and controversies surrounding the mosaics, especially their dating, contexts and meanings, but also to look at new ways forward in the study of this extraordinary group of monuments. The day includes papers which examine all the major mosaic monuments in the city, but there will be extensive time for discussion so that the controversies and relationships between them can all be discussed.
Session 1: Setting the Scene
10.00-10.10: Antony Eastmond, Introduction and Welcome
10.10-10.50: Beat Brenk, The mosaics of Thessaloniki: the state of research
Session 2: Chaired by Jaś Elsner – Dates and Contexts: pre-Iconoclasm
11.20-12.00: Hjalmar Torp, Considerations on the Chronology of the Rotunda Mosaics
12.00-12.40: Charalambos Bakirtzis, The mosaics of Saint Demetrios basilica: Iconographical issues
12.40-13.15: chaired by Jaś Elsner – Discussion: dates, contexts and interpretations
Session 3: Chaired by Judith Herrin – Dates and Contexts: post-Iconoclasm
14.10-14.50: Robin Cormack, After Iconoclasm – forwards or backwards?
14.50-15.30: Liz James, The mosaics of the church of the Holy Apostles: Byzantine mosaics in the fourteenth century
Session 4: Chaired by Liz James – Contexts and Colour in Thessaloniki
16.00-16.40: Laura Nasrallah, Representing the first-century Thessalonians: Early Christian Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles
16.40-17.20: Bente Kiilerich, Colour, Light and Luminosity in the Rotunda Mosaics
17.20-18.00: Myrto Hatzaki, Peacocks, Rainbows and Handsome Men: Perceiving Physical Beauty in the Early Byzantine Mosaics of Thessaloniki
18.00-18.10: Antony Eastmond, Conclusions
Booking for the conference is up on the website (under forthcoming conferences, soon to be moved into main section once the summer term programme is up). There are links to the programme and abstracts, and the online booking has also been opened (£12, £7 concessions).