Belting before Belting : from Moscow, to Constantinople, and to Georgia

Title: Belting before Belting : from Moscow, to Constantinople, and to Georgia
Variant title:
  • Belting před Beltingem : z Moskvy do Konstantinopole a do Gruzie
Author: Foletti, Ivan
Source document: Convivium. 2021, vol. 8, iss. Supplementum 1, pp. [18]-25
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
Summary language
License: Not specified license
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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.
This article has been carried out as part of the project "Cultural Interactions in the Medieval Subcaucasian Region: Historiographical and Art-Historical Perspectives" (gf21-01706l).