Exhibit of the Year
Christ Crucified with New Testament Festive Scenes
Painted by Mihály Zsivkovics, an icon painter from Buda – 1803
Mihály Zsivkovics (1776-1824) studied painting at the Arts Academy of Vienna. His works are reflective of the stylistic features of the Late Baroque and Classicism alike. He had a workshop in Buda and was active in portrait painting as well. He painted his main work, the iconostasis of the Church of the Annunciation (Blagoveštenska) in Szentendre, in 1802 and 1803. He made the panel painting of the Crucifixion of Christ during his stay in Szentendre at a private individual’s request. In the centre of the picture, in an ornately painted frame (in a ‘picture-within-a-picture’ arrangement), the image of the Crucified Christ is featured, with a kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene. On the two sides, independent compositions are displayed: the Nativity and Baptism of Christ, as well as the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Zsivkovics’s work was acquired by the Serbian Ecclesiastical Museum through gifting from the legacy of the Huzsvik-Stefanović Family.
The Theotokos with Christ – Theotokos Trojeručica (Three-Handed), by icon painter Mitrofan, ca. 1764
Icon painter Mitrofan was an Athonian monk and, as an itinerant painter, he arrived in Hungary around 1764, probably at the invitation of the Hegumen of the Monastery of Ráckeve (Srpski Kovin). Judging by its small size, the icon must have been designed for the purpose of private devotion. It seems likely that the client specifically commissioned the painter to paint a replica of the wonder-working icon of the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, the image of Theotokos Trojeručica. However, it appears that Mitrofan did not have the appropriate graphic template in Hungary to paint an iconographically accurate image of Theotokos Trojeručica. Therefore, he painted an ordinary representation of the Virgin Hodegetria (Our Lady of the Way), yet with the attributes and signature of the Theotokos Trojeručica of Hilandar. His work speaks to the dynamic Athonian connections of the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Buda, as well as to an advanced cult of the Theotokos Trojeručica image among Hungary’s Orthodox Serbs. The art of the painter Mitrofan was crucial in the development of the traditional late-Byzantine painting style in the Balkan region during the 18th century.