The Itineraries of the Orthodox Painters in the Eighteenth Century: The Common Aesthetics in South-East Europe
During the eighteenth century, the aesthetic preferences of the Orthodox Christian population in the Balkans continued to depend upon the tradition of Byzantine art, which had been the case throughout the period following the Fall of Constantinople. The painters were scattered all over the Balkans, where the Orthodox population had been accustomed since previous centuries to the tastes emanating from Byzantine artistic tradition. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and Mount Athos played a crucial role, on account of their religious and political status, in the movements of Orthodox painters, whose missions and apprenticeships they regulated to a considerable degree. The great number of paintings, the observation of the itineraries of Orthodox painters throughout the Balkan area of the Ottoman Empire and the shared aesthetic of these works supply evidence of the development of a common painting language among the Orthodox population of South-East Europe during the eighteenth century, just before the formation of the nation-states.