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383

Andromache Katselak

AN ICON OF THE PANAGIA GLYKOPHILOUSA


FROM KEPHALONIA IN THE BYZANTINE MUSEUM, ATHENS
Xeon 2724 (73x65 cm) has a double frame, and was
purchased in 1992 from the family of Gerasimos Psemenatos
from Kephalonia (Fig. 1). During restoration at the Byzan
tine Museum's laboratories, Ms. Vivi Galakou uncovered a
three-line dedicatory inscription (Fig. 3) in the lower part of
the icon and a male figure in the lower right-hand corner.
The icon depicts the iconographie type of the Virgin Glykophilousa on gold ground, tenderly embracing the infant
Christ and deeply bowing her head down towards him (Fig.
1). The Virgin is wearing a dark blue maphorion and a rus
set-colored mantle with a whitish lining. The robust child
with plump cheeks and curly hair is wearing a gold shirt. In
the lower right-hand corner, next to the inscription, a young
man is depicted on his knees in a posture of prayer; he is
wearing aristocratic, western-style attire (Fig. 2).
According to the inscription, Vernardos Aninos died tragi
cally when he was suddenly struck by lightning on January
24, 1723. The event took place in Vernardos' house in the
village of Komitata on Kephalonia. The Aninos family was
one of the island's prominent families and had been men
tioned in the Libro d'Oro, where information about Vernar
dos can be found.
The icon depicts the Virgin, Glykophilousa type, as found in
a Stephanos Tzankarolas icon in the Holy Monastery of
Sisia in Kephalonia (Fig. 4). This composition was not an
original conception of Tzankarolas, but imitated a type
which had been created in Italy in the workshops of great
painters such as Raphael and Titian (Fig. 5).
This western type of Glykophilousa had a wide distribution
in Kephalonia, as is indicated by the six icons with the same
theme which are located in the island's churches and all date
in the 18th century (Fig. 6). Especially interesting among
them is the icon from Same, which clearly copies an older
icon of the Virgin Glykophilousa theme. Sebastian Venier,
the admiral of the Venetian fleet at the naval battle of Le

384

panto in 1571, dedicated this icon to the monastery of Phanenton, Kephalonia, in memory of the Christian victory.
Since all the Virgin Glykophilousa-type icons that are found
in Kephalonia have the same dimensions, we can postulate
that they all descent from a common drawing (anthivolon)
that existed in Kephalonia at the beginning of the 18th cen
tury, possibly a product of the Tzankarolas' workshop.
Executed in the style of Raphael, this original emphasized
the human character of the figures and was most often used
as a model for dedicatory icons, since nearly all of the surviv
ing icons bear dedicatory inscriptions. The most important
stylistic features of the Byzantine Museum's icon, such as the
renaissance quality in the modelling of the figures, the finely
drawn features, and the precision and consistency of the
drawing, all persuade us to associate this icon with the circle
of painters around Stephanos Tzankarolas, in particular
with his student from Kephalonia, Andreas Karantinos.
The icon's owner states that the icon was a family heirloom
belonging to his mother's side, the Vikatos family, who
originate from the Castro, the old capital of the island.
Members of the Aninos family can also be placed in the
Castro in the 18th century. Although we cannot say when,
the icon probably passed into the hands of the Vikatos
family through a marriage with a member of the Aninos
family. This view is confirmed by an old photograph in the
Byzantine Museum's collection (Fig. 7) which was taken by
Yorgios Lambakis at the beginning of the present century in
the area of Argostoli, near the Castro.
This icon from the Byzantine Museum's collection is of
special interest, not only because it provides us with an
additional important work from the workshop of Andreas
Karantinos, but also because it offers valuable information
about Kephalonian society at the beginning of the 18th cen
tury and the influence exerted by the Italian Renaissance in
the Ionian region.