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Mystras and Sparta: Antiquarian connections in context

King's Building, Strand Campus, London

8 Oct
ancient greek
Angel statue
Part of CHS Late Antique & Byzantine Seminar Series (Autumn)

Andrea Mattiello (London)

The talk analyses the art and architecture of the city of Mystras, capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea, in the first half of the fifteenth century in light of its proximity to Sparta. By investigating the notion of visual antiquarianism in the context of late Palaiologan cultural production, the presentation suggests dialectical and informed connections between the remains of ancient Sparta, and the design and visual solutions adopted in the architecture, as well as in the wall paintings, of relevant buildings of Mystras. For this purpose the talk considers evidence such as the architectural rendition in the wall-painting of the Annunciation in the church of the Theotokos Pantanassa, Cyriacus of Ancona’s diary entries relating to his visit to Sparta, Giuliano da Sangallo's reproductions of Cyriacus’ drawing of the remains of the theatre in Sparta, and comparative case studies linked to the exchanges between humanists at the court of Mystras, such as Georgios Gemistos Plethon, and those related to Italian courts such as Cyriacus of Ancona.


Andrea Mattiello is a Byzantine and Contemporary art historian and curator. He is a guest lecturer at Christie’s Education and has been research fellow at the International Centre for Architectural Studies ‘Andrea Palladio’ in Vicenza and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, and has published and lectured extensively, collaborating as curator with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Birmingham, the Venice Biennale, and private galleries in Italy and the UK. Trained in the History of Architecture, and in Visual Arts at the Università IUAV of Venice, he holds a PhD in Theory and History of Art at the School for Advanced Studies Ca’ Foscari/IUAV and a PhD in Byzantine Art History from the University of Birmingham.

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