Macedonia burning I

posted by istanbul on 2009/10/04 09:58

[ From the Media ]

Last Wednesday a fire broke out in the St Jovan Bigorski monastery in W-Macedonia, not far from the border with Albania (cf. a short piece on BalkanInsight). This complex, visited by this blogger in June '09, holds what one of the region's "major works of art": a mid-19th ct. wooden iconostasis produced by one of the period's and region's most talented artist workshops, hailing from mountain villages in the immediate vicinity of the monastery. A sign of the times, they even including self-portraits (pic) among biblical scenes carved plastically into the wood. The iconostasis survived the fire unscathed; but the event reminds us of the temporality of art, especially that which is still in use according to its original function and thus not harboured (or "historically quarantined") in a museum. This brings to the fore once again the importance of the digitization of cultural heritage. The fact that in most Orthodox Churches in the Balkans you are not allowed to take pictures, for reasons not fully evident (in Ohrid I was once told I could not enter a church and/or take pictures because it hadn't been published about yet), certainly works against that.


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