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Home 23 April 2021
Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions Wood sculpture Epirus Gorgopotamos

Shield and Upper shield, Monastery for the Repose of the Virgin Mary at Makrino (1780)
(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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Wood sculpture: Subtopics All topics
Representative works
Wood sculpture of Metsovo
Wood sculpture of Gorgopotamos

Generally in relation to the wood sculptors from Metsovo, Gorgopotamos and the surrounding areas

Triantaphyllos Sioulis

© Prefecture of Ioannina
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We can state with certainty that Metsovo, Tournovo, Pogoniane, Pramanda, Chionades and Moschopolis, were centres in wood sculpture from a very early time. This has also been confirmed by the fact that we have already encountered wood sculptured works in these regions from the 16th century.
Sourlas has stated that: «The blossoming in this art was due clearly to the Epirot craftsmen from Metsovo and Tzoumerka, more specifically however from the Konitsa region and specifically from Tournovo (Gorgopotamos) village as well as Liskatsi (Asemochori), Vourbiane and Chionades».
And for another region of Epirus, such as that of Pogonion, it has been confirmed that it had a tradition in the wood sculpture art. Specifically, «the wood sculptors from Pogonion of Epirus sculptured the iconostasis for Aghios Achilleios at Pentalophon in 1779 as well as at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Bython of Kozane. They also created other implements for ecclesiastical use at the same Monastery and at churches in the region. The wealth in wood sculpture at the Monastery where craftsmen worked for 11 years on the iconostasis of the Monastery that has been dated to 1800 is inestimable, the best work in the art of wood sculpture in the Anaselitsa region» in the region of Kozane where it has been stated that many works were lost from the «fire of the European invader (Germany) … in 1943».
The famous wood sculptor Gavobasiles came from Moschopolis in North Epirus, he was self taught, formerly a shepherd, who created the wood sculptured iconostasis of Aghios Nikolaos at Moschopolis on walnut timber in the first half of the 18th century. When Moschopolis was destroyed in 1754 by the Turks and the Albanians «a large section of its population fled and also settled at Blaste, where it was relatively safe since Blaste was under the high protection of the Valinde Sultana (Dowager queen) because it was her fiefdom. They also brought with them this inestimable iconostasis with its rare icons and installed it at the church of Aghios Nikolas, where it is also presently located».
Mr. Skaphidas has also made remarks in relation to Moschopolis. He has mentioned a church, whose sculptured decorative as well as the murals were identical to the church of the Taxiarchon at Meleon in Pelion (1741), which had been created by Metsovo wood sculptors and hagiography painters, a fact that indirectly also confirms their journeys to these regions. «An identical precise decorative with that presented was also present at a church in the historical town of Moschopolis, close to Korytsa, after the liberation of North Epirus in the years of 1940 – 41, as we have been informed by the detailed description of the journalist at an Athenian newspaper of that period, with the precisely identical order of the hagiographies and the entry poem of lists that has been written in colour. As a result of this fact it has been substantiated that the same Metsovo wood sculptors and the same Metsovo hagiographer created the decorative for this church, which I doubt if it still exists. Unfortunately, neither the wood sculptors nor the hagiographer have inscribed any surname so that we may also know who these Metsovo artists were, when they lived and were active».
Also from the same region and from the Moschos generation of wood sculptors «who in the 17th century lived at Moschopolis in North Epirus …and thereafter spread through the various regions of Epirus and the rest of Greece» was the wood sculptor and one of its members Evangelos Moschos descended, who was born in 1905 at Daphnote of Epirus. They also dispersed like so many others, possibly after the Turkish and Albanian catastrophe.