Karoussos Archives is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and reintegrating the world's significant Byzantine art heritage while ensuring its continued wonder and creativity for future generations.
As an informal Management Body, it supports Byzantine monuments on a non-profit basis, forming synergies with organizations and businesses and allowing monuments to be viable and integrated into modern society.
It attempts to re-establish the Byzantine cultural asset and reintegrate it into the modern context using the rich archival material of late post-Byzantine painters Dionysius and Iannis Karoussos. Using cutting-edge methods, it ensures the flawless transfer of Byzantine content to the digital age, with the goal of redefining Byzantine art and its implicit connection with sustainable development.
The Karoussos Archive holds the entire visual material of the late fresco painters Dionysius and Yannis Karoussos, who represented two major avant-garde art periods in Orthodox Ecclesiastical art:
i. The Nazarene (pre-Raphaelite) movement, which was a reaction to Neoclassicism and the academy system's conventional art education, and
ii. The renaissance of contemporary meta-Byzantine art, distinguished by an enriched post-Paleologan personality.
Over 200 original worksheets (anthivola) from major mural paintings in Orthodox churches, including the Athens Cathedral, St. Panteleimon in Athens, St. Andrew in Patras, and many others, are preserved in the Archive.
Tens of thousands of photographs and slides were captured during the construction process from scaffolding levels, depicting details found as high as 43 meters above ground level.
These images are especially valuable because they contain details of frescoes that would otherwise be impossible to study due to the height and scale of the churches. Furthermore, they illuminate the layers of the painting work process in general.
Dionysis Karoussos started the collection in the early 1900s, and it contains a large number of late nineteenth-century gravures and lithographs, as well as rare anthivola from the painter's final Nazarene period.
After the mid-twentieth century, the Collection grew to include Yannis Karoussos's unique repository of post-anthivola (large worksheets on rice paper, which were used as blueprints for monumental, mural paintings in churches). Many of these worksheets are redrawn, including notes, in order to solve architectural problems such as distortion and perspective.
Many of these worksheets include the architectural plan and iconographic circle of the churches where the mural paintings are placed. This section of the archive is significant because it illuminates the long history of the modern construction of twentieth-century churches, where the use of concrete in the dome construction was particularly innovative.
Both painters' libraries round out the Archive's collection. They include some rare publications as sources for their artwork.
Dionysis Karoussos (1903 - 1984)
Dionysius Karoussos was one of the last great Greek Nazarene painter. He studied at the School of Fine Arts under Professors D. Biskinis and S. Vikatos from 1930 to 1936. Karoussos' work was the last glimpse of Nazarene (pre-Raphaelite) religious painting in Greece, influenced by German romanticism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly by Nazarene painters such as Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.
His work can be found in the Athens Cathedral, the Chrysospiliotissa church, St. Georgios Karytsi, St. Nicolas of Amalias Avenue, St. Thomas of Kypseli, St. Antonios of Patision, and many other locations. The Association of Greek Writers honoured Dionysius for his contribution to art.
Yiannis Karoussos (1937-2013)
Yiannis Karoussos was a monumental painter who specialized in large-scale frescoes in Orthodox Christian churches. He studied Fine Art under Yiannis Moralis at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and Byzantine Art under Fotis Kontoglou and his father Dionysius Karoussos. He received a scholarship from the Italian government in 1956, as well as from the Art Institute of Chicago (1961). The Greek Holy Synod honored him with the Golden Cross of St. Paul for his significant contribution to ecclesiastical art. Karoussos has participated in various solo and group shows in Athens, Paris, Chicago, New York, and Moscow. His enormous artwork includes several Orthodox churches. His two major projects, St. Panteleimon of Athens and St. Andrew of Patras, defined him as the pioneer of post-Byzantine Art. He was commissioned to execute the painting of St. Theodore at 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 Vouliagmeni 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. Due to the fragile nature of the Archive's material, the number of people admitted for research may be limited. Written applications from suitably qualified individuals must reach the Archives at least thirty days before the start of any proposed study. Those wishing to consult archival material should first make contact with the Archives via email.
Users of the Archive may request reproductions of photographs only for academic research purposes. Worksheet reproduction (anthivola) is not permitted. Professionals interested in obtaining access to this type of Archival material for fresco commissions should contact the Director.
Any resulting publication, whether as a book, thesis, article, or other digital or audiovisual media owned by the Archive, should include appropriate acknowledgment and copyright permission.
Before being sent to the publisher, any material ready for publication will be shown to the Archives in its digitized form. Karoussos Archives reserves the right to delete or amend any reference, without prejudice to any legal right governed by the respective intellectual property laws.