Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

Sketching Thessaloniki – a glimpse of an ancient land

Terracotta jars in Thessaloniki

Amphorae used in the wine and oil trade, 3rd to 6th Century, Thessaloniki, Greece

I’m not long back from our field trip to Thessaloniki, Greece; a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travelling with a small group of icon diploma students, all passionate about our subject, we visited the mosaics and wall paintings in the ancient churches of Thessaloniki, led by Aidan Hart and supported by the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.

The places we visited didn’t allow flash photography so most of my photos are a little too fuzzy to share here. However, I kept a sketch book and though most of these pen and ink drawings were done in 5-10 minutes, I hope they give you a flavour of the trip.

If you are really interested in looking at the wall paintings that we visited, here is a link which is well worth bookmarking and which I only discovered on my return, it’s a database of Byzantine art: Princeton University.

Hospitality from Harry at the Vlatadon Monastery

Hospitality from Harry at the Vlatadon Monastery – Greek coffee and ‘Greek Delight’

pen and ink sketch of 5th Century mosaics

Fragments of rich greens and blues of 5th century mosaics in the Church of Acheiropoietos

pen and ink sketch of Greek icon

500 year old icon of the ‘Hope of the Hopeless’

pen and ink sketch of Thessaloniki

Sketch of the apse and iconostasis in the Church of Archeiropoietos

pen and ink sketch of Greek cats

Basking Greek cats and a fragment of Roman archaeology

pen and ink sketch of Greek balcony

Balcony beside the Ecclesiastical Museum, Thessaloniki

agia Sophia pen and ink sketch

Looking toward the apse of Agia Sophia, Thessaloniki and the glow of the golden mosaics.

pen and ink sketch of Agia Sophia

Detail from the ceiling west of the dome of the Agia Sophia, Thessaloniki

tree sketch

Shape of a Greek tree in a planter

Well in the Crypt of St Demitrios, Thessaloniki, where the saint was martyred

Well in the Crypt of St Demitrios, Thessaloniki, where the saint (an officer in the Roman army) was martyred in AD303. The 7th C basilica was built on the ruins of a Roman bath complex.

Nicholas Orphanos

Nicholas Orphanos – wall paintings attributed to the school of Panselinos.

Hosios David Thessaloniki sketch

Mosaic of the ‘Beardless Christ’ in the apse of Hosios David, depicting the vision of Ezekiel, late 5th C

Finally, I will leave you with a few more sketches of life from the Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki.

sketch of greek necklaces

Necklaces and bracelets – delicate and fresh colours from the 2nd to 6th centuries.

oil lamp Byzantine

5th century lamp of Thessaloniki – approx 80mm x 60mm

column capital

Cube capital engraved with a cross which is formed by four diagonally carved oil or wine amphorae.

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie

2 Responses to “Sketching Thessaloniki – a glimpse of an ancient land”

  1. gaypogue

    Ronnie, these drawings are quite lovely. They convey the feel of the places probably better than any photograph would do. I am experiencing these places through your eyes and pen.

    Thank you for sharing them.

    Reply
  2. ronnie

    Hi Gay, Thanks so much for your comment. It was a wonderful trip, so much to see in very little time really. Enough for a quick sketch, a few photos and a few lit candles and prayers and then off to the next destination. We were worn out by the end of it but very, very happy!

    Reply

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