Naydenova, Darya Vadimovna. Zoomorphic iconography of St. Christopher in the Art of the Balkan countries

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For citation: Naydenova, Darya Vadimovna. Zoomorphic iconography of St. Christopher in the Art of the Balkan countries, in Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana. 2020. № 2. Pp. 107-124. DOI https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu19.2020.207

Title of the article Zoomorphic iconography of St. Christopher in the Art of the Balkan countries
Authors Naydenova, Darya Vadimovna — PhD student, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia,

OrcID 0000-0002-2267-7931, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the section  Commentarii / Articles
Year 2020 Issue Pages 107-124 
Type of article RAR Index UDK; BBK  UDK 7.046.3; BBK 85.103(3) Index DOI 10.21638/spbu19.2020.207
Abstract St. Christopher was one of the few Christian saints whose image was portrayed in vivid and remarkable iconic art. Although the anthropomorphic iconographic image of the martyr was known in the Byzantine world since ancient times, the painters purposely proceeded to depict this saint in his zoomorphic guise. The belief in his miraculous power allowing to prevent troubles and to guard against diseases, fostered by the diverse artistic interpretations of the zoomorphic face representation, emphasized his particular mystical status, which enabled this unprecedented martyr’s iconography to survive almost until the present day. The zoomorphic iconography featuring Saint Christopher in the art of the Balkan countries was rather diverse and did not correspond to any persistent canon until the 19th century. The lack of metropolitan works representing St. Christopher in zoomorphic appearance led to a variety of interpretations of his face representation. This article focuses on the zoomorphic iconography of Saint Christopher in the art of the Balkan countries (Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania). Based on the analysis of the extensive corpus of the martyr’s images, portrayed in the monumental and easel paintings of the Balkan countries, the author identifies several subtypes of the martyr’s zoomorphic iconography (with a head of a dog, a horse and actually of a lamb), reveals the possible ways of emergence of each subtype, as well as outlines the regional distinctive features of the prevalence of one or another zoomorphic subtype. 
Keywords Balkans, art, St. Christopher, painting of the Balkan countries, iconography, zoomorphic iconography, art of the Balkan countries, symbolic meaning, veneration tradition
Full text version of the article. Article language  Russian
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Tags: COMMENTARII / ARTICLES, Balkans, Art, painting, iconography, NAYDENOVA D. V.

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