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Michael Damaskenos or Michail Damaskenos (Greek: Μιχαήλ Δαμασκηνός, 1530/35-1592/93) was a leading post-Byzantine Cretan painter. He is a major representative of the Cretan School of painting that flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries, whilst Crete was under Venetian rule. He was a near-contemporary of the most famous Cretan painter of any period, El Greco, but though Damaskinos also went to Italy, he remained much closer to his Greek roots stylistically.

The Stoning of St. Stephen, Allegory of the Holy Communion, Saint George with scenes from his life,

Touch me not, Saint Matthew, Adoration of the Magi, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist,

Michail Damaskinos Paintings, Images



Life and work

There is little information regarding the life of Damaskinos. He was born in Candia (today's Herakleion), the son of Tzortzis Damaskinos. He had a daughter named Antonia who married the painter Yannas Mantoufos. Damaskinos lived in Venice for several years, where he learnt miniature painting and travelled extensively throughout Italy[1]. He was a member of the Greek Brotherhood of Venice from 1577 to 1582, having been in Venice since 1574. He painted along with Emmanuel Tzanes the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of San Giorgio dei Greci in Venice. In 1584 he was back in Greece and worked mainly in Crete and the Ionian islands. His works are in traditional Byzantine style but with many influences from Venetian painting, mainly Renaissance artists such as Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese. He used a particular rose colour that characterised his paintings, his figures dimensions are defined by only few brushes while he was drawing wooden and never marble thrones as was typical in the Cretan School. That Damaskinos was highly regarded is shown by him being invited from Crete, despite all the many Greek artists already in Venice to paint the frescoes of San Giorgio dei Greci.[2]. Damaskinos was also the first artist to introduce paler flesh tones into post-Byzantine painting and it was one of the stylistic features of his work which proved highly influential from the second half of the sixteenth century and onwards [3]. As was usual for distinguished painters, Damaskinos signed his works: ΧΕΙΡ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΤΟΥ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ or ΧΕΙΡ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ, ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΧΕΙΡ or even ΠΟΙΗΜΑ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΤΟΥ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ (creation of Michael Damaskinos) [4]. Damaskinos having worked extensively in the Ionian islands has contributed to the fusion of the Cretan and the Heptanese School of painting.
See also

Cretan School
Heptanese School
Byzantine art

External links

The work of Michael Damaskinos by S. Peponakis-in Greek
Istituto Ellenico di Studi Byzantini and Postbyzantini di Venezia
Collection of Agia Aikaterini of Sinai

References
^ Greek Icon Painting (1927) J. Stuart Hay, Leonard Bower The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 51,(292);pp: 8-9 and 12-14
^ 2000_ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ-ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΣ
^ A winged St John the Baptist icon in the British Museum (2003) Angeliki Lymberopoulou Apollo
^ Cretan portable icons

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