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Document Details :
Title: 'Bezielde Schilderkunst'
Subtitle: Michael Psellos (1018 - ca. 1080/90) en de religieuze kunst van zijn tijd
Author(s): DE VRIES-VAN DER VELDEN, E.
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 49 Issue: 3-4 Date: 1997
Inspired Art’: Michael Psellos (1018-ca. 1080/90) and the Religious Art of his Times
The well-known Byzantine court dignitary and polymath Michael Psellos has left us several texts on icons which were not written in the traditional spirit of his times, that pervaded both official and literary documents concerning religious objects of art. Psellos discusses icons in a highly personal manner. He shows unusual aesthetic sensibility and a keen perceptive mind, distinguishing between religious content and pictorial qualities in a unique way. His attitude strikes us as unusual and one may wonder if it struck his contemporaries just as much. After tracing briefly the cultural transformations in the tenth and eleventh centuries and describing the cultural elite, the author gives us an outline of Psellos’ life and personality. She demonstrates that some of Psellos’ views on religious art were definitely not appreciated (not even understood) by his environment. The author ascribes Psellos’ uncommon aesthetic criticism to the unique combination of an unconventional character, a keen, discriminating mind and the particular political circumstances of the eleventh century.