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Title: A study of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries Byzantine architecture and painting : the Church of Krena in Chios
Author: Pennas , Charalampos
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The subject of this dissertation is the study of the byzantine church of Krena in the island of Chios. The importance of the church lies not just in that it has survived virtually unspoilt in architectural terms, nor in that it preserves almost intact its original mural decoration, but in the fact that it belongs to the small group of precisely dated monuments of the late Komnenian period. A painted inscription in the narthex gives the date 1197, while the names of two Byzantine families of the period are encountered in the mural decoration of the church, namely the surnames Kodratos and Pagomenos. Hence, the study of the Byzantine church of Krena contributes to our understanding of the trends in Byzantine architecture and painting in the East Aegean region and the western Asia Minor during the end of the twelfth century, shortly before the Sack of Constantinople by the Latins. Moreover, the monument appears to constitute a key monument for the study of Byzantine art during the late twelfth century, expressing the new pictorial and aesthetic tendencies of the new era. The thesis is divided into the following main chapters: 1. HISTORICHAL FRAMEWORK First there is a brief history of Chios during the 11 th and 1 i h centuries. Taking into account the historical events of the period a comprehensive outline of the administrative, economic and social history of the island is attempted (1.1). Second, after a short reference to travelers' testimonies concerning the toponym Krena and the church of the Virgin itself (1.2), there is a detailed discussion of the founders' of the church, namely Eustathios Kodratos, and the Metropolitan of Hypaipa, Stephanos Pepagomenos, uncle of Kodratos' wife, a certain Pagomeni. The career of the two men is traced, as well as the social background of their families and their connection with the central imperial authority (1.3). Finally, there is the evidence of the inscriptions that exist on various marble architectural members, as well as in the painted decoration of the church. Except for the founders' inscriptions there are some others, which give precious infOlmation concerning the histOlY of the monument from the period of its foundation, at the end of the twelfth century, until the end of the nineteenth century (1.4). 2. ARCHITECTURE The chapter on the architecture deals first with a discussion on the origin of the domed octagon type, whose Krena is one of the latest dated examples (2.1). Next, there is a survey of the structural history of the church, focusing to its various architectural phases (2.2). Special references are made to the general structural features of the church (2.3). Domes, walls, openings either in the interior or in the exterior of the church, ceramoplastic decoration are examined in detail. An impOliant role for the original reconstruction of the upper parts of the church, after their destruction during the earthquake of 1881, plays the depicted model of the church offering from the founder Eustathios Kodratos to the Virgin. Finally, the contribution of Krena to the architecture of the twelfth century is discussed (2.4). Although, the main architectural type of Krena has its roots in a much earlier architectural film, not usual on the twelfth century, that of the octagon type, the monument employs new features which stress the plasticity of the exterior, making it a forerunner of Lascarid and consequently of Palaeologan architecture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available