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Apotheosis of
Hercules
Bulgaria
17th century Bulgaria was a period of Ottoman rule and Turkish feudalism, where the training of
amateur artists happened either at the Athos monasteries or under the influence of Orthodox
art. This period saw the development of the Arbanassi School of Art in Bulgaria, a predecessor
to the Tryavna Art School that was heavily influenced by the Turnovo School.
The artforms produced during this century were influenced by the style of the monks of the
Athos monasteries, although the work often demonstrates a degree of national self-awareness.
The frescoes ‘Christ Great Archangel’ and ‘Saint Nicholas’ demonstrate the features of the
Arbanassi School.
During this period Arbanassi was going through economic and spiritual upheaval and many
wealthy tradesmen connected with Athos lived there. Their artistic tastes most likely
encouraged visits from the best travelling artists in Bulgaria.
The frescoes at St. Nicholas were completed by an anonymous but a well trained artist who was
well acquainted with the Gospel topics.
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