An historical and iconographical study of a group of twenty post Byzantine icons in the Antalya Museum

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Bilkent University
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The present thesis explores a group of twenty unpublished Post Byzantine Greek Orthodox icons housed in the Antalya Museum. The entire collection of icons in the Antalya Museum numbers 172. These twenty icons, a representative sample of the whole collection, are examined in terms of their chronology, provenance, and stylistic and iconographie features. A detailed catalogue of the icons provides a complete documentation. The icons rarely have fixed dates. Of the twenty presented here, two have dates painted on them, and five others have either dates pencilled on the back or iconographie indicators of dates, and so can be assigned a terminus post quern or a terminus ante quern. These dates, either a precise year or within a certain range, are in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The remaining thirteen icons, because of general similarities of their style and iconography to these seven, seem also to be products of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The place of manufacture of these icons is almost without exception unknown. However, they all ended in Antalya, and thus represent the tastes of nineteenth century Greek Orthodox Antalians and the kinds of icons that they could obtain, either locally or while on travels. The thesis first explores the cultural context of the Greek Orthodox community of nineteenth and early twentieth century Antalya. Then, as a background for the twenty Antalian icons, the nature and purpose of icons are surveyed, fi"om early Christianity to modem times. The catalogue follows. Finally, the chronology, place of manufacture, and stylistic and iconographie features are discussed. Four stylistic approaches are identified: Conservative, Provincial, Western, and Eclectic. Their usesamong the twenty Antalian icons and selected icons from elsewhere in Turkey and Greece are discussed. The icons housed in the Antalya Museum provide information on the Greek Orthodox population of Late Ottoman Antalya, both as artistic expressions of religious beliefs and practices and as historical documents. But Post-Byzantine art, especially as it survives in Turkey, has been little studied and is poorly known. This study, by presenting twenty previously unpublished icons firom the Antalya Museum collection, has taken a step toward filling this gap

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