Karoussos Archives is a nonprofit organization that aims to reinstate and reintegrate the world's significant Byzantine heritage while ensuring its continuity, of wonder and creativity, for decades to come.
As an informal Management Body, it supports Byzantine monuments, on a non-profit basis, creating synergies with organizations and companies, thus allowing the viability and integration of monuments in modern society.
Through the rich archival material of the late post-Byzantine painters, Dionysius and Iannis Karoussos, it attempts the re-establishment of the Byzantine cultural asset and its reintegration into the modern context. Using pioneering methods, it guarantees the perfect transfer of Byzantine content to the digital age, aiming to redefine Byzantine art and its inherent relationship with sustainable development.
The Karoussos Archive holdings comprise the complete visual material of the late fresco painters Dionysius and Υιannis Karoussos that signified two major avant-garde art periods in Orthodox Ecclesiastical art accordingly:
i. The Nazarene (pre-Raphaelite) movement, which was a reaction against Neoclassicism and the routine art education of the academy system, and
ii. The renaissance of contemporary meta-Byzantine art, characterised by an enriched post-Paleologan character.
The Archive preserves over 200 original worksheets (anthivola), from major mural paintings in Orthodox churches, such as the Athens Cathedral, St. Panteleimon in Athens, St. Andrew in Patras, and many others.
The Archive has been enriched with tens of thousands of photographs and slides, which were captured during the work process from the scaffolding levels, depicting details found as high as 43 meters above ground level.
These visuals are especially valuable as they contain details of frescoes that are inaccessible, due to the height and large scale of the churches, and would otherwise be impossible to study. Moreover, they enlighten the layers of the work process of the fresco painting in general.
The Collection was begun by Dionysis Karoussos in the early 1900s and includes a large number of late nineteenth gravures and lithographs, as well as, rare anthivola of the last Nazarene period of the painter.
After the mid of the 20th century, the Collection extended with the unique repository of post-anthivola of Υιannis Karoussos (large worksheets on rice paper, which were used as blueprints for monumental, mural painting in churches). Many of these worksheets are redrawn, including notes, aiming to solve architectural problems, such as distortion and perspective.
Numerous of these worksheets contain the architectural plan and the iconographic circle of the churches where the mural paintings were executed. This part of the archive is important because it illuminates the long history of the modern construction of the 20th-century churches, where the use of concrete in the construction of the dome was something particularly innovative.
The libraries of both painters complete the Archive's material. They include some rare publications on which they base their artwork.
Dionysis Karoussos (1903 - 1984)
The last great Greek Nazarene painter was Dionysius Karoussos. Between 1930 - 1936 he studied at the School of Fine Arts under Professor D. Biskinis and S. Vikatos. Karoussos' artwork was the last glimpse of Nazarene (pre-Raphaelite) religious painting in Greece, influenced by German romanticism, of the late 18th and early 19th century and especially from painters of the Nazarene movement such as Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.
His work can be meet in the Athens Cathedral, the Chrysospiliotissa church., St. Georgios Karytsi., St. Nicolas of Amalias Avenue., St. Thomas in Kypseli., St. Antonios of Patision, and many others. Dionysius was honoured by the Association of Greek Writers for his contribution to art.
Yiannis Karoussos (1937-2013)
Yiannis Karoussos was an artist who worked on the Byzantine monumental painting, focusing on large scale frescoes in Orthodox Christian Churches. He studied Fine Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Yiannis Moralis, and Byzantine Art under Fotis Kontoglou and his father Dionysius Karoussos. He gained the scholarship of the Italian Government (1956) and of the Art Institute of Chicago (1961). He was awarded the Golden Cross of St. Paul by the Greek Holy Synod, for his contribution to ecclesiastical art. Karoussos has shown at many solo and group exhibitions in Athens, Paris, Chicago, New York, and Moscow. His monumental artwork comprises several Orthodox Churches. His two major projects, St. Panteleimon of Athens and St. Andrew of Patras, characterised him as the pioneer of post-Byzantine Art. He was commissioned to execute the painting of St. Theodore in Palatine Hill in Rome. His portfolio also includes the frescoes of the Church of St. Alexander and the Dormition of Theotokos in Faliro., Petrakis Monastery., The Holy Trinity at Keramikos, St. John of Voulagmeni Av., St. Dionysius in Zante, and many others.
ACCESS TO THE ARCHIVES
Access to all materials in the Archive is at the discretion of the Director. The fragile nature of the Archive's material, may make it necessary to restrict the number of persons admitted for research. Written applications from suitably qualified persons must reach the Archives, at least thirty days in advance, of the beginning of any proposed study. Those wishing to consult archival material, are advised to make preliminary contact with the Archives by email.
The Archive users can request a reproduction of photographs only for Academic research purposes. Reproduction of worksheets (anthivola) is not permitted. Professionals who wish to obtain access to these types of Archival material, for fresco commissions, should get in contact with the Director.
Due acknowledgment should be made in any resulting publication, whether as book, thesis, article, other digital or audiovisual media of the Archive's ownership, accompanied with relevant copyright permission.
Any material prepared for publication will be shown to the Archives in its digitised form, before sent to the publisher. Karoussos Archives retains the right to delete or amend reference, without prejudice to any legal right governed by the respective intellectual property laws.