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Home 26 February 2021
Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions Wood sculpture Epirus Metsovo

Vemothyra for the Sacred Porte, Church of the Prophet Elias at Bitsa (1770-1790)
(Photo: Triantaphyllos Sioulis)

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Geographic map of Ioannina Prefecture with the works of Metsovo and Tournovo wood sculptors
Geographic map of Ioannina Prefecture with the works of Metsovo and Tournovo wood sculptors

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Topics
made of stone
textliles
Silver work
Wood sculpture
Hagiography - Painting
LOCATION
Epirus
Gorgopotamos
Metsovo
Wood sculpture: Subtopics All topics
Representative works
Wood sculpture of Metsovo
Wood sculpture of Gorgopotamos

14/11/2006
Other parallel works that they carried out

Triantaphyllos Sioulis

© Prefecture of Ioannina
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The wood sculptors, in addition to the construction of iconostases and other ecclesiastical objects and wood sculptured decorations for residences were also occupied with other relevant tasks, especially during the difficult economic periods. Carpentry work and even plastering, as it appears from agreements that they signed, were some of their occupations.
Accordingly, we observe for example in an inscription dated 1st December 1787, the wood sculptor Giannis Popolanos had assumed a menial task, since he had assumed the job at the church of the Aghioi Theodoroi at Kastro (Cephalonia) of working on the repair of the roof.
On many occasions it also occurred that those whose main occupation was carpentry work, such as the carpenters and the ceiling builders, to also be occupied with the art of wood sculpture. «THE ‘‘TABANTZIDES’’ OR ‘‘TABATZIDES’’, NAMELY THE CARPENTERS WOULD ARRIVE AT A BUILDING SITE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BUILDERS. ON THE PROPER JOB THE JOINERY PREPARED BY THE CARPENTERS WHO WOULD DELIVER IT TO THE BUILDERS FOR BUILDING INTO THE WALLS. THEY CONSTRUCTED EVERY MANNER OF CARPENTRY WORK FOR THE BUILDING SITE, AS WELL AS THE ‘‘GRAIN STORES’’ FOR THE HOLDING OF CEREALS AND MANY SMALL REPAIR JOBS AT OLD HOUSES. WHERE THERE WERE NO WOOD SCULPTORS THEY WOULD ALSO DO THE CARVING. DURING THOSE PERIODS THE ‘‘APPRENTICES’’ WOULD BE UP AL NIGHT CARVING WITH A PEN KNIFE THE SMALL PANELS IN THE CEILINGS, UPON A SPECIFIC PATTERN. THE CARPENTERS THEMSELVES OFTEN ALSO TOOK ON THE ROLE OF THE PLASTERER AND THE PAINTER OR EVEN THE ARTIST, PROBABLY AT THE ROUGHEST JOBS. THE CRAFTSMEN MADE THEIR OWN PAINTS (OIL COLOURS OR EGG) FOR THE MURALS».
This fact has also been demonstrated by the following contract that was signed at Ioannina dated 15th April 1904: «...THE CURATES AT THE CHURCHES OF KOSMERA MESSRS GAKIS PAPAS, SPYRIDON PANAGHIOTIS AND MICHOS BAMBAS AND ON THE OTHER HAND MR. GEORGIOS BALTSONGIAS FROM METSOVO (IN RELATION TO MERANOS OR MELIOTIS), ALL PARTIES BEING OTTOMAN CITIZENS AND ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS: GEORGIOS BALTSONGIAS HAS ASSUMED THE CONTRACT FOR THE INTERIOR DECORATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AT KOSMERA IN HONOUR OF THE AGHIA OSIOMARTYR PARASKEVI...ETC GEORGIOS BALTSONGIAS HAS PROMISED AND IS OBLIGATED TO CONSTRUCT THE FOLLOWING, NAMELY THE ICONOSTASIS AT THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED NEWLY BUILT CHURCH, WHICH SHALL BE IN EVERY WAY IDENTICAL TO THAT OF AGHIA AIKATERINE, ONE DESPOTIC THRONE, WHICH SHALL ALSO BE IDENTICAL TO THAT OF AGHIOS NIKOLAOS AT THE MARKET HERE, ONE PULPIT ALSO IDENTICAL TO THAT OF AGHIOS NIKOLAOS HERE, ALL THE PEWS THAT SHALL BE REQUIRED WITHIN THE SAID CHURCH; THE CEILING SHALL BE ECCLESIASTICAL AND ELEGANT WITH A DOMED PANTOKRATORAS; THE FLOOR IN THE NARTHEX WITH A STAIRCASE AND THE RELEVANT JOINERY FOR ABOVE AND BELOW THE NARTHEX.; TWO LARGE DOORS WITH TWO PANELS OF TWO AND HALF METRES. TIMBER JOINERY FOR THIRTEEN WINDOWS...AND FINALLY THE INTERIOR OF THE SAID CHURCH SHALL RECEIVE TWO COATS OF PLASTER, AS IS NORMAL...ETC».
Their main occupation, as we have already discussed, was wood sculpture decoration, even for residences. When the building of a house was completed «...THEY WOULD SUMMON THE TAGIADOROI TO AGREE UPON ITS DECORATION. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DIMENSIONS OF THE WOOD SCULPTED SURFACE THAT THEY WERE DECORATING, FOR THE MOST ELABORATE OR THE SIMPLEST CARVING AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TYPE OF TIMBER THEY WOULD STRIKE AN AGREEMENT ». Mr. Papazeses has written in relation to the wood sculptor Giannis Gionis: «IOANNIS GIONIS, GRANDFATHER, WAS KNOWN AS THE ‘‘ARCHONTOMASTORAS’’ BECAUSE HIS WORK WAS HIGHLY SOUGHT BY THE MANSIONS OF THE NOTABLES AT METSOVO WHERE HE CARVED CEILINGS, CHESTS, BUILT IN WARDROBES, ETC».
We have observed elsewhere for example that the same thing occurred with the Sechis family at Tournovo (Gorgopotamos), who had carpentry as their main occupation and wood sculpture as a second. We note that something comparable has also occurred with Giotis from Vrysochori, whose main occupation was carpentry and occasionally he was also occupied with wood sculpture. Furthermore, Nikolaos and Kostas from Metsovo in 1852 who repaired the ceiling in the church of the Aghioi Pantes at Anthousa of Kalambaka have referred to as «ceiling builders».
In accordance with the above as well as other information, they were occupied with all manner of carpentry work, the decoration of churches, the decoration of buildings and the mansions of the notables (ceilings, built in wardrobes, chests, wedding wreath cases, iconostases, cornices, wooden utensils for residential use), and even barrels. This popular form of the art also included many other objects. We refer as an example to the more recent wood sculptors Antonis Sioulis from Botonosi who lived permanently at Metsovo, as well as Stergios Mavrogiorgos from Botonosi with most noteworthy small size works such as icons, shepherd’s crooks, statuettes and various other wood sculptures with human and animal compositions.
More specifically, in relation to the Metsovo wood sculptors and their works it has been stated that: «THE ABOVE WOOD SCULPTORS, IN ADDITION TO THE ECCLESIASTIC DECORATIONS ALSO CREATED RESIDENTIAL DECORATIONS, SUCH AS THE CEILINGS, WARDROBES, SMALL CUPBOARDS WITH VARIOUS ARABESQUES, CRADLES, SMALL TABLES, STOOLS, ETC. THESE SORTS OF DECORATIONS ADORNED MANY OF THE RESIDENCES OF THE WEALTHY IN METSOVO...THE RESIDENCE OF DEM. MERANOS WITH A CARVED CEILING AND CARVED SMALL TABLES, COUCHES AND ARM RESTS ALL PRODUCED BY GEORGIOS AND NIKOLAOS MERANOS AND THE RESIDENCE OF DEM. PAPOUTSIS WITH A CEILING AND SMALL CUPBOARDS THAT WERE PRODUCED BY NIKOLAOS ROZOS OR TRICHAS...THE SAID BROTHERS IOANNIS AND ATHANASIOS MERTZANES HAVE PRODUCED TIMBER PIECES AMONGST WHICH ARE FOLLOWING: 1) CHESTS OF VARIOUS DIMENSIONS; 2) CASKETS, ASHTRAYS; 3) WALL PLATES IN VARIOUS DESIGNS; 4) WALL SHELVES; 5) PORTABLE DESKS; 6) VARIOUS CHAIRS; 7) CEILING ROSETTES, 8) LAMPS, DOOR HANDLES ETC...METSOVO CRAFTSMEN HAVE BEEN MENTIONED AS CREATING WOODEN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND THERE WERE THE JOINERS NIKOLAOS ARGYRIS AND APOSTOLOS ARGYRIS AND TWO OF HIS CHILDREN GEORGIOS AND DEMETRIOS, WHO LIVED AT IOANNINA. THE ABOVE PRODUCED VIOLINS, MANDOLINS, GUITARS AND FLUTES, AND THEY WERE ALSO EXCELLENT MUSICIANS... OTHER METSOVO TALIADOROI ALSO PRODUCED TRUNKS, CHESTS, CARVED ICON SUPPORTS AND SMALL GLASS SEALED ICONOSTASES WITH ARABESQUES FOR HOUSES. OTHERS AGAIN PRODUCED CHURCH BELLS FROM A SPECIAL TIMBER...».