The Temple Gallery
Condition. The icon has been conserved in the studio of Martin Bould who reports that it is ‘in very good condition with minor restoration to the gold ground in the upper left corner; also minor damages, restricted to the edges, have been repaired’.
Eleni Dimitriadou writes: This icon belongs to the circle of Emmanuel Tzane Bounialis, a learned priest from Rethymnon in Crete, who lived in the seventeenth century and is considered one of the most productive painters of his time. His works were faithful to the tradition of older masters such as Angelos and Andreas Ritzos, and when he chose to use western models, he generally preferred those of the fifteenth century. (Chatzidakis and Drakopoulou (1997) 409). In 1636 he was already an accomplished painter of excellent craftsmanship, distinguished by the traditional linear technique of Byzantine art. His work had a great influence on his contemporaries as well as on later painters not only in terms of technique, but also in terms of iconography. He has, therefore, proven to be a significant figure to the extension and renewal of Byzantine tradition. The absence of a signature does not allow us to identify the painter of No.105 with certainty. If not Tzanes, it is an iconographer highly influenced by that master as it bears remarkable similarities with another icon of St Alypios from the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens signed by Tzanes and dated to 1661 (see fig. a).
This parallel image, signed Emmanuel Tzanes Bounialis and dated 1661, is in the Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens. (Photograph from The World of the Byzantine Museum (Athens 2004), pl. 148.)
There are four points where No. 105 departs from the signed version which suggest a close associate of Tzanes rather than his autograph. 1) There is a variation in the spelling of the inscription (ΑΛΗΠΙΟΣ instead of ΑΛΥΠΙΟΣ). However, this inscription is almost certainly a alter restoration. 2) The ‘corinthian’ capital of our icon has a flower in the middle which is not found in other icons attributed to Tzanes. 3) There is only one step at the base of the column in our icon, whereas other icons have two. 4) There is a slight difference on the rendering of the buildings at the bottom of the icon.