Publication details

Belting Before Belting From Moscow, to Constantinople, and to Georgia



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Convivium: Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Hans Belting; Byzantine art; Georgian art; historiography; Viktor Lazarev; nationalism; Ts’alenjikha; u.s.s.r.
Description One of the last half century’s most important art historical theorists, Hans Belting has introduced revolutionary critical concepts and proposed new methodological solutions. Belting’s effect was beginning to be widely felt in 1979. While in Georgia studying the frescoes of the late-fourteenth-century Constantinopolitan painter Manuel Eugenikos at Ts’alenjikha, he clashed with Viktor Lazarev, one of the foremost experts on Byzantine art. Using a strictly stylistic method, Belting opposed Lazarev’s denigration of Manuel Eugenikos as representing Byzantine decadence. To Lazarev’s crypto-nationalist discourse, he argued against an internationalist outlook rooted in thought developed in the 1950s by scholars at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, d.c. As this article articulates, both positions are best understood as part of the dialectic debate on the role of Byzantine art that, since the early-twentieth century, countered the Russian/Soviet historiography and the cosmopolitan one supported by émigré scholars in Europe and the United States.
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