4 Comments

  1. Wow, what a great interview! I very much enjoy seeing these simple lively paintings, and I especially appreciate that they effortlessly transcend the artificial boundaries we have set up to compartmentalize iconography, decorative murals, and gallery art.

    We so often remark that in the middle ages there was no difference in style between iconography and secular painting. But Kampanis seems to have achieved this blessed unity in his own work. One cannot clearly tell whether one of his paintings is liturgical, decorative, or made for an art show. There is little difference in style or subject, and apparently little difference in the artist’s mind. Kampanis is truly what I would call one who lives in the tradition!

    1. Markos Kampanis

      Thank you Andrew! I am really glad you like it. It is an honour to have such a nice presentation here. My many thanks and appreciation to all at OAJ.

  2. This man speaks with great authority and I mean both by his words and by his painting, pay attention to them. I would clarify the issue of the distinction between the arts “liturgical,” “religious,” and “secular.” They are useful terms and do have their place but in reality there is a continuum among them. Liturgical art is that which has its place in the liturgy of the church speaking inclusively (including the related decorative arts, architecture etc.). Of course there is religious art that is not liturgical. As a christian painter, my religious and spiritual sensibilities (“ethos”) inform all of my art in some degree whether, at first, it appears to be secular, religious, spiritual or liturgical. DAJ

  3. I do not know if I have succeeded to transcend boundaries between secular and sacred art as Andrew Gould is suggesting. I believe I have not; it would be too much to believe so, although it is natural that such should be the goal of all religious oriented artists, especially practicing Christians. I have been thinking that one reason that unity of the arts was achieved during the Medieval period or in Byzantium and has not been the case during our own times is mainly due to the fact that societies in the past where “unified” in a way, to the fact that art was still a sacred activity and there had been no distinction between secular painting and the religious one. This can be seen when comparing let’s say palace mosaics and church ones, or even during the 15 c, when comparing the iconographic style of Theophanes the Cretan with landscape details seen in parts of his murals, but even much later during the 19thc: at least in Greece there is a very interesting link between folk secular art and Church decoration and iconographic depictions. So we may assume that the secularization of our society is mainly to blame for the gap between secular and liturgical art. But I wonder is this the only reason? What responsibilities do artists have towards this situation? What responsibilities does the church have towards it by trying to cultivate a specific notion of what constitutes tradition, and thus provide the basis for turning liturgical art from a living endeavor to a deadly copying act. The notion of a painterly “mother tongue” is I believe of paramount importance. Most of today’s iconographer’s paint the way they do by either imitating older examples or by interpreting them in a way. In most of the cases they have learned a certain “style” and work with it utilizing, let us say, in a painterly way, a language which is not their own, it is not native, it is a learned dialect which however well taught will still remain a foreign tongue. Part of the reason behind such a situation is the common well spread belief that somehow a so called “byzantine” style is a holy style; a style that by its mere historical usage is alone capable of producing images of “holy” persons or stories. One needs only to compare a Byzantine icon with the Byzantine portrait of Hippocrates or try to find differences between the way a saint’s life and the life of Alexander the Great are depicted during Byzantium : he will find none. These are some initial thoughts on some of the issues and are relevant I believe to the splendid article of Fr Silouan Justiniano, The Threshold, or the latest article by Aidan Hart on the important issue of training for future iconographers.

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