Βυζαντιναί παρενδύσεις Ενετίας : Οι πολυτελείς σταχώσεις της Μαρκιανής ΒιβλιοθήκηςPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.45, 2006, pages 391-410
Βυζαντιναί παρενδύσεις Ενετίας : Luxurious Book-covers in the Biblioteca Marciana
Alongside the renovation of the Pala d'Oro, the Venetiandoge Dandolo (1343-1354) commissioned three Gothic manuscripts - one Epistolario, one Evangelistario and one Messale - for the liturgical needs of San Marco. These codiceswere designed so that they could be bound with three earlier, luxurious book-covers. Two of these bindings were products of Byzantine workshops of the ninth and tenth centuries, while the third was an imitation created in a Venetianworkshop in the thirteenth century. In this article thesethree book-covers are commented upon, in combinationwith the fourteenth-century Byzantine book-cover, gift ofEmperor John VIII Palaiologos to the Serenissima Republic of Venice.Concurrently, an attempt is made to restore the originalarrangement of their iconographie programme; the existingvoids are filled in and the later misplacements are noted. Inmy view, the enamel with the Evangelist Matthew, which isin the middle of the right side of the Venetian frame of theByzantine lapis-lazuli icon of the Crucifixion, also in theTreasury of San Marco, comes from the Byzantine luxuriousbinding of the Epistolario, while the enamel with the elderlyEvangelist Matthew, in the middle of the left side of theframe of the same icon comes from the crown of Leo; last,the plaque with the figure of St Eustratios, which adorns theVenetian frame of the Byzantine icon of the Virgin Nikopoios, in the basilica of San Marco, comes from the silvergilt cover of the Messale.Κ. Weitzmann had maintained that the two Byzantine bindings were initially diptych icons whose use the Westernersfailed to appreciate and so transformed them into bookcovers. However, Middle Byzantine sources describe luxurious bindings with features comparable to those of the bindings in the Biblioteca Marciana, which leads to the conclusion that these bindings had been made originally for thesame purpose as that given them by Dandolo in the fourteenth century. Moreover, the relation between the iconographie programme of the bindings and the content of thecodices indicates that the doge and/or his circle were wellaware of exactly what they had in their hands.The coupling of works in the Byzantine and the Gothic style,the costly investment of art and materials, and the symbolicgravitas of the books which Dandolo covered with the aforesaid luxurious bindings all point in the end to a politicalchoice: the Venetian doge intended the incorporation of theByzantine past into the Venetian present, an incorporationthat would contribute to constructing the historical and cultural identity of Venice in the centuries of her zenith.
856: https://ejournals.epublishing.ekt.gr/index.php/deltion/article/view/4289, DOI: https://doi.org/10.12681/dchae.498