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Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions Wood sculpture Wood sculpture of Metsovo Epirus Metsovo

Architrave with Epithyron For the Sacred Porte Monastery for the Birth of the Theotokos at Kepoi (1680)
(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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Representative works
Wood sculpture of Metsovo
Wood sculpture of Gorgopotamos
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Wood sculpture of Metsovo: Subtopics All topics
Wood sculptured works

14/11/2006
The journeys and the works of the Tournovo wood sculptors

Triantaphyllos Sioulis

© Prefecture of Ioannina
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In accordance with some researchers the wood sculptors «were active in certain regions and worked in accordance with the unwritten code, which was based upon the common law. The range of the activities, e.g. for the tagiadoroi from the villages at Konitsa and at Tzourmeka, extended exclusively into Epirus and into Albania; whilst the Metsovo and Samarinio tagiadoroi went down into Thessaly; However, they all flooded the broader area, reaching as far as the inner regions of Asia Minor and Syria and as far as Rumania, influencing the local conditions as well as accepting influences».
Metsovo wood sculptors created wood sculptured works at many Greek speaking regions, from at least 1670 onwards, when the iconostasis for the Prophet Elias at Olympus was constructed, as well as at the Monastery of Aghios Nikolaos at Metsovo (1682). In the 18th century there was created by Metsovo artists the iconostasis for the church of Aghios Demetrios at Metsovo (in 1744 by the children of Stergios Vardakas) and it was gold leafed in 1747 by the Metsovo artist Stergios Pelias. In 1750 the taliadoroi from the family of Poulios or Saitanis or Dimanos created the iconostasis at Aghia Paraskevi in Metsovo. In 1791, Kostas Metzovites together with Konstantinos Linotopites created the iconostasis at the catholicon for the Transformation of the Saviour at the Mega Monastery of Meteora, in 1813 the Metsovo artists (Kostas and Demetris) gold leafed the iconostasis at the catholicon for the Transformation of Christ at the Monastery of Douskos or Dousikos at Trikala and in 1814 Metsovo artists sculptured the iconostasis at the church of Aghios Charalambos at the Monastery of Aghios Stephanos at Meteora. In 1835 Anastasios Mouskou or Moschos with the company of Giannis Gionis created the iconostasis at the Monastery of the Prophet Elias close to Salona, at Aghios Georgios at Leivadia, where it has also been signed «Anastasios Metzovites»; the iconostasis at Aitolikon and thereafter in Macedonia, they created iconostases at Molobista, Ochrida and Krousiovo. In 1839 another Metsovo sculptor Giannis Paschoulis delivered the iconostasis for Aghios Konstantinos at Philippoupolis in accordance with the Vienna design. In 1839 Demetris and Stergios Petris also restored and created other iconostases at the same city as well as at Metsovo. In 1840 Demetris Petris created the iconostasis for Olympiotissa at Elassona. In 1848 Anastasis Mouskou or Moschos at Galaxeidi created the iconostasis for Aghios Nikolaos with the Gionis family company. In Roumeli in 1875, they created iconostases at Domoko, Pournari or Prinari then at Kalerari, Plope, and Choumirgianne and in 1879 at Kastri. In 1882 at the Rovolaris village, at Aghios Ioannis the Theologian at Giantzios village; in 1886 the iconostasis at Ypate; 1887 at Selitzianne and in 1889 at Koryschades; Other famous taliadoroi were together with them the son of Giorgis Meranos, Nikolaos, Kostas Demotis with his son, Kostas Nakos or Katsioras with his son, Gousios, Herakles and Dafos Dafitsis and the veteran master taliadoros Nikolas Bletsos. Kyrgos Ν. Biros was also famous. Furthermore, together in the same company was also Michalis Barsias and his son, Chrestos, Giannis Gionis, Basilis Petris or Pertsalis and his son, Nasis Petris or Pertsalis or Gizas, Nikolas Metsias, Konstantinos Demotis. Furthermore, the Metsovo taliadoros Kostas Nakos, had travelled to Egypt in 1862 and built the iconostasis at the church of the Annunciation in Alexandria and was paid by the Tositses family. In addition to Epirus where they also constructed the iconostasis at the church of Aghios Georgios in Thodoriana village, they went to Thessaly, Macedonia, Roumeli, and Moria and to Livorno in Italy where in 1820 the Tositsas brothers summoned the family company of the master craftsman Giannis Gionis to construct the iconostasis for the Orthodox Church. In 1899, Giorgis Meranos and Giorgis Tsourekas also created the iconostasis at the church of the Transformation of the Saviour at Botonosion further to the order by G. Averof, whose mother Douko was descended from Botonosion.
In relation to North Epirus, the name of Konstantinos Metsovites has survived (1805) who created the iconostasis (as well as the Pulpit and the Despotic Throne) at the church of the Birth of the Theotokos at Ano Lambovo (his name has been «embossed» on to the iconostasis). In 1821, Kostas Kolis with Kostas Matsoukos also from Metsovo, «sculptured the iconostasis at the church of the Virgin Mary at Mesochora in Stenimachon of Eastern Romylia, in accordance with the inscription ‘‘THE CRAFTSMEN KOSTAS KOLIS, KOSTAS MATSOUKOS FROM METSOVO’’».
Amongst all of these names, very few have survived in inscriptions. A lot more could have survived from earlier times had the same practice as with the hagiographers been followed. They often signed their works with their name, not a simple task, on entering «‘‘into the employment’’ of the donor».