Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise Panel of Constantine and Helena with the True

Cappadocia

Setting and audience

Cappadocia, the heartland of the central Anatolian plateau in modem Turkey, is rich in evidence of medieval religiosity, evidence preserved by the unusual geology of the province. Volcanic cones to the east covered the red beds and gyp­sum of the plateau with almost flat sheets of lava and layers of volcanic ash. This ash consolidated into tuff strata, often as much as one hundred feet thick. Wind and water have modeled this soft stone into an exotic lunarlike landscape. Entire beds of light tan tuff have been carved away, leaving only tall pinna­cles, with their oddly balanced protective caps of harder lava. Rorschach-like cliffs and outcrops stand isolated above the plateau, and small rivulets cut smooth, un­dulating rock valleys through it. The supernatural aspect of the terrain provided a proper stage for ascetic practice; its distorted organic forms seem to monumental­ize the monks’ struggle with physical and spiritual temptations.

The easily carved tuff invites the excavation of sacred and domestic spaces from the living rock. Rock-cut villages both above ground, carved from the flanks of tuff cliffs, or below ground, hollowed out of the deep tuff strata, are known from antiq­uity1 In contrast to the construction of masonry buildings, cave excavation re­quired a minimum of professional help. Bathystrokos, abbot of a monastery in Soganli Valley; after “greatly toiling” in the rock-cut complex of Karaba§ Kilise, was laid to rest there, suggesting that monks might help in the excavation of their own chapels. Ifexts of the lives of other provincial saints—for example, those of St. Neophytus of Paphos in Cyprus and St. Elias ‘Spelaeotes of Calabria, discussed below—provide further documentation of monks excavating their own cells and chapels. Besides requiring relatively little skilled labor, caves had appropriate as­cetic associations with Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, and holy monks. In the twelfth century, Nicetas Choniates summarized the Byzantine sen­sibility: “It is fitting that monks should set up their habitation in out-of-the-way places and desolate areas, in hollow caves and on mountain tops. In the early tenth century, one Cappadocian hermit, having carved his retreat high in a pin­nacle at Zilve, went so far as to identify himself with the great column-sitting holy man, St. Symeon the Stylite. The new Symeon adopted the old one’s name and decorated his chapel with an elaborate narrative of his famous predecessor’s life.
The relative ease of creating cave dwellings, as well as the drama of the setting, apparently contributed to Cappadocia’s popularity as a place of monastic resi­dence. The tuff regions of the province were all the more appealing because life there was not as austere as it appeared. The small valleys are well watered, readily supporting the production of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Judging from the num­ber of surviving rock-cut wine presses, the wine was as good and plentiful in Cap- padocia in the Middle Ages as it is today.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise St Thaleleos

Political circumstances, as well as the geographical setting, conditioned monas­tic life and artistic production in the region. In contrast to other Byzantine prov­inces, where artistic developments occasionally contradict political and social ones, the historical framework in Cappadocia appears to mold the evolution of the province’s art. From the seventh to the ninth centuries, Cappadocia was very much a frontier province under constant pressure from the east. The Arabs seem to have concentrated on border raids and borderland annexation after the frustra­tion of their siege of Constantinople in 717-18. In response, the Byzantines evi­dently adopted a policy of militarizing the borderlands through the removal of the civilian population and the creation of a series of small fortified towns which the Moslems could not easily capture. Urban life, as it had been known in Cappadocia in late antiquity, ended.8 There are no churches with dated inscriptions surviving from this strife-ridden period.
Cappadocia’s military conditions began to improve in the second half of the ninth century. Armenia became an independent state and effective buffer zone be­tween Byzantium and the Arabs. In 863 the Byzantine general, Petronas, met and annihilated Omar, the emir of Melitene, and his large army. In 873 Basil I made significant advances in the area of the Euphrates, marking the beginning of Byzan­tine expansion to the east. Around 900 Nicephorus Phocas the Elder won an im­portant victory over the Arabs at Adana. Cappadocia was no longer on the front line; the military frontier had moved beyond the Taurus Mountains. With the redi­rection of military emphasis toward the northern Euphrates, the northern and cen­tral land routes across Cappadocia increased in importance. The roads from Coloneia and Nyssa joined and passed through the tuff regions of the province.5 The first significant group of decorated churches of the Middle Byzantine period can, in all likelihood, be ascribed to this era.
The creation of the Cappadocian bishoprics of Sebassos and St. Volcanic rock formations in Goreme Valley (David Page) part of the reorganization of the church initiated by the taxis of Leo VI and patri­arch Nicholas (901-7) may also reflect the political stability of the province. These sees, however, had disappeared from the ecclesiastical lists by 940, suggest­ing that this new security did not lead to a revival of urban life and institutions. The province’s rural nature is documented in both Arab and Byzantine sources.
The relative prosperity of Cappadocia from the beginning of the tenth century through the first three quarters of the eleventh is reflected not in the resurgence of cities, but rather in the growth of the provincial military aristocracy and the mul­tiplication of monastic establishments. The archetype of this new military elite is the epic hero Digenis Acritas.11 Half Arab but fiercely Christian, Digcnis Acritas is the warrior counterpart of the holy man, whose counsel and allcgiance is sought even by the emperor. This mighty noble and generous hero lives a life of considera­ble luxury and complete independence. His story, which may have originated in Cappadocia, embodies the ambitions of the emergent military aristocracy of the province.
Some evidence concerning the relations between this new elite, the local popu­lation, and the monks is provided by dedicatory inscriptions which survive in the cave churches of the region.‘’These inscriptions suggest that support for monasti- cism came from a broad spectrum of the provincial community. At least a few of the aristocratic families holding estates in Cappadocia (notably the Scepides and Phocas clans) are associated with the decoration of Cappadocian churches.” Titles recorded in inscriptions indicate that some patrons were involved in the military organization of the province (kleisouiarch and taxiaich], some with the provincial government (domestikos of the theme, stiategos, tourmachos], and others held imperial rank {magistros, protospatharios, protospatharios of the golden dining room, and spathawkandidat). Here were figures of the Byzantine establishment; they included members of the elite, who depended for their power on direct links with the emperor in Constantinople. These titles are indicative not only of the status of some of the donors involved in Cappadocian artistic production, but also, broadly speaking, of date. All the major titles found in dedicatory inscriptions in the cave churches of the province are common only before the late eleventh cen­tury, at which time the terminology of Byzantine titles changed in response to the values of the newly ascendent Comnenian dynasty, scions of the military class. Most artistic production in Cappadocia took place in the tenth century and first three quarters of the eleventh century.
The elites of Byzantine society were not the only contributors to artistic pro­duction in Cappadocia. Epigraphic evidence indicates that support also came from lower social echelons, as will be discussed in regard to particular monuments. But it is graffiti rather than painted inscriptions which allow some insight into the nature of the broader audience of these Cappadocian wall paintings. For the most part, graffiti are limited to formulaic prayers including the graffitist’s name: “Lord protect your servant, [name},” or “Prayer of the servant of God, [name].” Although the formula of an invocation may not be particularly significant, the inclusion of nonformulaic information allows occasional glimpses of the pious at their devo­tions. Priests and monks, many of whom were in orders, represent a majority of those graffitists whose occupations are indicated. In fact, many of the monks who include their vocation were also in orders. Since monk-priests were much less common in Byzantium than in the West, this may imply that officiants left their mark on the church that they served. If it can be assumed that only those who could wiitc produced graffiti, it is tempting to go further and suggest that only the priestly monks, in distinction to the average members of the community, were lit­erate.
Cappadocian graffiti also create the impression that literate laity as well as monks worshipped in the rock-cut churches of the province. A few graffiti were left by women, indicating that they were present in the community. The rarity of women’s graffiti perhaps suggests that there was a lower rate of literacy among women; many more women were mentioned in painted inscriptions executed by the artist rather than by the subject herself. Illiteracy is not, however, the only ex­planation for the relative rarity of women’s graffiti. Access to monastic churches might have been more restricted for women than for men; certainly in the typika of many monasteries, women were forbidden to enter the katholikon. It might even be suggested that, then as now, women had greater reservations than men about expressing themselves in this manner. Graffiti provide some evidence that the cave churches of Cappadocia were visited by travelers. One graffitist identified himself as a “foreigner”; other invocations mention Kotiaion, perhaps the city near Dorylaion, and the unidentified place name of Petreno.16 It is impossible, of course, to know whether these individuals were passing through the region on their way elsewhere or if they came as pilgrims specifically to the monastic settle­ments of the province. The few dated graffiti, which range from the first half of the eleventh through the middle of the twelfth century, indicate that at least some chapels continued to be used after the Byzantine loss of Cappadocia to the Seljuks in 1071. In this respect, graffiti contrast with dated donors’ inscriptions, none of which occurs during the last quarter of the eleventh or in the twelfth centuries.
The ccntral plateau of Asia Minor fell to the Hirks after Alp Arslan (Brave Lion) annihilated the army of Romanus IV and captured the emperor at the fateful battle of Manzikert in 1071. The transition of power from the Christian, Greek-speaking Byzantines to the Moslem Hirks was apparently a bloody ordeal.17 In contrast to, for example, the Norman conquest of South Italy or the Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia after the conversion of the Slavs, the conquerors had no religious sym­pathy for the Christian population. The Moslem distrust was doubtlessly aggra­vated by the elose ties between the Greek Orthodox church and the Byzantine Empire. Further, there was no tacit legitimation of the universalism of ”Roman” imperial rule of the sort evinced by both the Normans and the Bulgars. The bitter­ness of subjugation was not tempered for the inhabitants of Anatolia by any shared ideological framework.
Despite the limited documentation that has survived, it seems that the Seljuk occupation of Cappadocia caused a fundamental disruption of the life of the in­habitants. Caesarea was still in ruins when the Crusaders journeyed through Cap­padocia at the end of the eleventh century.18 Ecclesiastical and secular estates were confiscated. Bishops, having fled to Constantinople in the wake of the occupation, were unable to return to their dioceses. Many churches were converted to mosques and others were sacked. Some sense of the Christian reaction emerges from Wil­liam of Tyre’s twelfth-century description of the destruction of the churches of Antioch:
The sacrilegious race of Hirks had desecrated the venerable places… and put the churches to profane uses. Some of the sacred edifices had been used as stables for horses and other beasts of burden, and in other pursuits unbefitting the sanctuary..
The Christian population was impoverished and Christian art lost its patronage. It is hardly surprising that the rock-cut churches of Cappadocia offer little evidence of artistic production from the last quarter of the eleventh through the twelfth century.

The ninth century

The art-historical value of the cave churches of Cappadocia is greatly enhanced by several factors. They survive in relatively large numbers, allowing the rhythms both of stylistic development and also of artistic impetus to be charted. Their nu­merousness reduces the risk that gaps in the series are simple historical accidents. The monuments are located within a geographically circumscribed area, and their decorations are consistent in scale and medium. Thus comparisons are not con- fuscd by differences in context or materials. The patterns of artistic change trace­able in Cappadocia appear to be remarkably parallel to those occurring elsewhere in the Empire from the post-iconoclastic period through much of the eleventh ccntury. However, these changes take place within a stable framework of peculi­arly local architectural and programmatic traditions, some sense of which is pro­vided by the earliest group of painted churches ascribable to the Middle Byzantine period.
The Chapel of Nicetas the Stylite near Ortahisar is typical of this series. Cut into the west side of one of a small group of cones, the church has a lon­gitudinally barrel-vaulted narthex and small nave (2.25 by 2.75 meters). The nave is terminated by a commodious apse, horseshoe in plan. The horseshoe form is common in both the plan and elevation of Cappadocian monuments. Horseshoe- plan sanctuaries have the functional advantage of creating adequate liturgical space without an additional bay. The liturgical furnishings of the Chapel of Nice­tas have been destroyed, although, extrapolating from surviving cave churches of a similar form, originally it probably had a freestanding, rock-cut altar, one or more seats in the bema, and low parapet slabs separating the sanctuary from the nave. The space allows for a congregation of no more than five or six. The simple, func­tional spatial arrangement of this chapel is endemic in the rock-cut milieu of Cappadocia; there is no reason to look elsewhere for architectural models.
The same can be said of the chapel’s decoration. The church is adorned with fig­ures and enframing geometric and vegetal ornament painted on a fine white plas­ter in a limited number of earth colors, of which bright ochre is the most dominant. The unmodeled images, delineated internally and externally by an un- variatcd black line, elaborate the interior surfaces of the chapel without compro­mising their flatness. As in the case of the architecture, a search for external models for these paintings is unnecessary. Although an art historian cannot afford to deny the validity of using style as a means of dating and association, the co­gency of such efforts depends on many factors, one of which is the degree of an image’s formal complexity. The less complex the technique and the fewer the number of visual stratagems in a painting, the more problematic are comparisons made with works outside its immediate vicinity. The vivacity of the frescoes of the Chapel of Nicetas depends on their simplicity. Relating them to works far re­moved territorially and/or chronologically is methodologically suspect: Similari­ties may imply only a shared level of craft, not specific links.
The program of the Chapel of Nicetas is as direct and explicit in its address as the style of the paintings in which it was realized. The main fields of the barrel vaults of the nave and narthex, as well as the apex of the conch of the apse, are de­voted to jeweled crosses enframed by ornament. The cross is too often associated exclusively with Iconoclasts; it was in fact the valued protection of the pious from Early Christian times onward. The model monk and archiconodule Theodore of the Studius Monastery in Constantinople preached:
Cross, of all objects the objcct most venerated; Cross, most steadfast refuge of Christians.. .Height and breadth of the cross, most comprehensive measure of the vast heaven; strength and power of the cross, ruin of the might of every enemy; figure and form of the cross, of all forms the most honorable to look upon.
Like innumerable monks before and after him, St. Gregory the Decapolite ban­ished demons from his cave hermitage through the sign of the cross.21 The glorifi­cation of the cross, the most potent of all apotropaic devices, fits the defensive political and spiritual circumstances of early Middle Byzantine monasticism in Cappadocia. The apostles, disseminators of the truth of the cross, are depicted be­low it in arches on the haunches of the vault. Four witnesses to Christ’s power, as embodied in the cross (the holy healers, Cosmas and Damian, Panteleimon, and a female saint), occupy the west tympanum. The source of the power of the cross is illustrated on axis with the nave cross: Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our salva­tion is depicted paradigmatically on the triumphal arch; his incarnation is repre­sented by the Virgin and Child enthroned in the conch of the apse.
The monk for whom the chapel was decorated, probably also the author of its salutary message, is represented to the left of the image of the Crucifixion by his surrogate, St. Symeon the Stylite. His invocation reads:
For the prayer, deliverance, and forgiveness of sins of Nicetas the Stylite, the as­cetic by whose piety (the sanctuary was adorned).
A second invocation indicates that Nicetas received support for his enterprise from a secular patron:
Eustathius, the most glorious kleisouxaich of Zeugos (and) Klados?; offered, by di­vine inspiration, this service for the glory of the holy hierarchy. Protect him.
This inscription is associated not with a portrait of the patron, but rather with the image of St. John the Baptist to the right of the Crucifixion. Thus two great mo­nastic archetypes flank the Crucifixion as ahistorical participants and interces­sors, demonstrating the monastic tenor of the program. This suggests that Nicetas, not his secular patron, controlled the scheme of decoration.
A kleisouiarch was commander of a military district. Sources are not specific about the date at which a kleisouia was established in central Anatolia, although it is generally agreed that its institution can be ascribed to the reign of Theophilus, Charsianon, which incorporated large parts of eastern Cappadocia in the ninth century, was a kleisouia until 863, although the western part of the province was made into a theme (a territorial unit governed by a stmtegos whose power was civil and military) sometime before 830. Although the date of the Chapel of Nice­tas is debated, the appearance of the term kleisouraxch, taken in conjunction with the emphasis on figural decoration, suggests that the church received its painted decoration after the Iconoclastic Controversy and before the disappear­ance of the kleisoura, that is, in the middle decades of the ninth century. Eus­tathius was not Nicetas’s only admirer; the number of medieval invocations scratched next to saints depicted in the monument suggests that Nicetas’s retreat was a shrine of some significance. These graffiti also indicate that the monu­ment’s directly rendered votive images very successfully attracted the veneration of the pious.
Associated with the Chapel of Nicetas the Stylite either through figure style or ornament are a number of other monuments, including St. Basil near Sinassos, St. Stephen outside Cemil, and Chapel I in Balkan Deresi. In the decorations of these monuments the cross is glorified, John the Baptist is prominent, and figural representation is votive in nature. These frescoes indicate that the urge to decorate monastic chapels in Cappadocia antedated the significant influx of any specifi­cally metropolitan artistic ideas and offer mute testimony to the strength and lo­cal independence of the monastic movement in the province. They provide a regional backdrop against which the more elaborate church decorations of the early tenth century can be fully appreciated.

The tenth century

Central to an understanding of Byzantine painting in tenth-century Cappadocia is Ibkali Kilise (Buckle Church) in Goreme Valley. The foundation was made up of three churches. The first sanctuary carved on the site was a minute, aisled basilica. Goreme Valley, Tokali Kilise. Perspective sketch of the Lower Church (basilica in the lower left-hand comer), Old Church (sinflle-iwve, longitudinally barrel-vaulted Structure directly above the Lower Church), and New Church (transverse barrel-vaulted hall in the center and right half)
with three apses opening off a transept. This church was apparently outgrown by an expanding monastic community. A larger chapel, the so-called Old Church, was excavated into the side of the cliff directly above the earlier Lower Church, which then served as its crypt. This second monument had a simple rectangular plan, a large sanctuary apse, and a prothesis niche for the rite of preparing the host. Both its narthex and nave were longitudinally barrel-vaulted, like the Chapel of Nicetas, but much more capacious. The New Church, the third and final exten­sion of the complex, was carved through the east end of the Old Church; it had a great transverse barrel-vaulted nave with a parekklesion (side chapel) and triple- apsed sanctuary.
Surviving fresco fragments similar in palette and style to the painting of the Chapel of Nicetas suggest that the Old Church was carved and first decorated in the second half of the ninth century In the early tenth century, the Old Church received a new program which dramatically differs from the votive emphasis of the province’s ninth-century painting. Ornament virtually disappears; that which remains, like the trompe l’oeil corbels below the vault overhang, serves a subsidi­ary rather than primary decorative function. Single figures appear on the wall of the nave, but the principal space, the nave vault, is given over to an elaborate Christological narrative arranged in three registers on either side of a series of prophet’s portraits in rondels in the apex. Each level broadly corresponds to one of the major divisions of Christ’s life: Incarnation, Ministry, and Passion. The sophistication of the composition is reflected in the clarity of its cyclical or­der and in the way in which the artist moves the viewer’s eye within the narrative. Narrative seams are eliminated. Figures of two scenes often overlap or turn either to react to the previous sceiie or to anticipate the next action. In the scene of the Nativity, for example, Joseph looks back to the Journey to Bethlehem at the left, and at the right an angel swings across the comer toward the shepherds on the west wall. Action is organized to be read laterally: The ox and ass look toward Christ in the manger, the Virgin looks toward Christ in the bath; the angel looks toward the shepherds.
The style in which the figures are rendered complements the narrative inten­tion of the program. The characters are puppetlike, with heads and hands enlarged to make significant movements legible; they fill the registers which they occupy from top to bottom. The range of color is wider and the techniques of layering pig­ments more complex than in the Chapel of Nicetas. Comb highlights and orna­mented costumes lend visual interest to the images without introducing volume to the figures. This vital figure style has close parallels elsewhere in the Empire, from Kastoria in Macedonia to Kellia in Cyprus. Iconographic features found in Cappadocia for the first time in these frescoes have been traced to metropolitan sources.30 It seems likely, then, that this narrative form originated outside the province.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise St Romanos east wall

No donor’s inscriptions survive in the Old Church. However, in a funerary chapel painted by the same artist, Ayvali Kilise in Gullii Dere, there are a number of dedications. The Church of St. John and the monastery of the Virgin, of which it was presumably a part, were apparently founded and decorated with the help of an individual (John?) whose titles, if he had any, are lost.31 Painted invocations. Goreme Valley, Tbkali Kilise, Old Church. South side of the barrel vault have also been left by others. Next to an orant saint is the supplication: “For the remission of the sins of the servant of God, Demna.” Next to the military martyr St. Theodore: “Lord protect your servant Theodore.” And accompanying the image of the venerable monk St. Macarius: “In the memory of the servant of God, Makar [Macarius]; monk of the [monastery] of. These invocations suggest that the monastery had broader support than that of a single lay patron. This double-nave complex, with a deep arcosolium carved in its north wall, was elaborately painted. The eschatological and ascetic emphasis of the decoration, which includes not only a dense Christological narrative but also a Last Judgment, the Maiestas Domini; and prominently placed holy monks, further intimates that the program was determined by its funerary function and its monastic audience. This suggests that the monks’ control of the program; already evidenced in the Chapel of Nice­tas the Stylite, may have continued into the early tenth century. However, the in­troduction of nonlocal notions of painted decoration indicates perhaps that lay patronage played an increasingly important role in the artistic production of the province.
The distinctly narrative mode of painting found in the Old Church appears in a slightly different form in another early tenth-century church, Kiliglar Kilise, in Goreme Valley. The figures which animate the narrative are more or­ganically conceived than their counterparts in the Old Church; though similarly proportioned with oversized heads, body parts, and drapery, they are less geometri­cally handled. The palette with which they axe rendered is also distinct, with bright blue, pink, and yellow pastels in addition to earth tones. Kili^lar Kilise’s fresco decoration has been convincingly ascribed to around the year 900 on the ba­sis of its close stylistic relation to the miniatures in the Commentary on the Book of Job in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice (gr. 538), which is dated by subscrip­tion to 905. Further, the relatively close stylistic associations between the Job il­luminations and miniatures in manuscripts, such as the Cosmas Indicopleustes in the Vatican (gr. 699), and the possibly contemporary manuscript of the Gospels now in Princeton, Garrett 6, suggest the paintings’ nonlocal sources.35
KiliQlar Kilise’s plan, as well as its decoration, bespeaks external impetus. This cave church convincingly mimes the so-called cross-in-square plan, which was newly popular in Constantinople in the early tenth century. Like Emperor Ro- manus I Lecapenus’s early tenth-century church in the capital, the Myrelaion Monastery, known also by its TUrkish name, Bodrum Camii, Kili^lar has barrel- vaulted cross arms and a central dome supported by four arches which spring from four columns. In Kiliclar the comer bays are covered with cupolas (real in the east and painted in the west), another architectural convention known in Constantinople.36 This centralized space is preceded by a domed narthex and terminated to the east with three apses: the sanctuary flanked by the prothesis. Goreme Valley, Kili^lar Kilise. Barrel vault of the north arm: Adoration of the Magi. Partially visible is the Flight into Egypt on the opposite side of the vault and the Dream of Joseph in the lunette apse, in which the Eucharist was prepared, and by the diakonikon, where liturgi­cal objects were stored. Like the church’s decoration, the architecture of Kiliglar Kilise represents the provincial adoption of a metropolitan type.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise St John on east wall with partial inscription

The extent of this appropriation is apparent in the programmatic features of the church. Like the Old Church, Kili^lar Kilise is decorated with an elaborate narra­tive program arranged in a broadly sequential order.37 However, in response to the fragmented architectural spaces of the church, certain scenes, such as the Maies­tas Domini in the apse, the complex Crucifixion, which (in contrast to other. Istanbul, Bodrum Camii. General view of the exterior from the south, taken in 1938 (Dumbarton Oaks, Center for Byzantine Studies, Washington, D.C.)
G6reme Valley, Tokali Kilise. G6reme Valley, Tokali Kilise, New New Church. West side of the north Church. East side of the central bay: the bay of the barrel vault: the Nativity, Asccnsion Magi Beholding the Star, and Adoration of the Magi scenes in the transept arms) extends its entire register, the Ascension in the cen­tral dome (appropriately preceded by the Blessing of the Apostles in the west bar­rel vault), and the Pentecost, above the east entrance bay, have been isolated from the narrative and given particular prominence by careful placement within their architectural settings. The full-length depictions of the Virgin and John the Bap­tist (?) which originally flanked the entrance to the apse at Kiliflar are among the earliest examples of monumental sanctuary proskynetaria (icons of veneration) to survive.
The evidence provided by Kili?lar Kilise suggests that the popularization of the centralized church plan at the core of the Empire in the first half of the tenth cen­tury was complemented by modifications in the narrative program. The direction and meaning of this programmatic shift are clarified in the decoration of the New Church of Tokali Kilise, which dates to the mid-tenth century. Fragmentary comice inscriptions in this great church commemorate the dona­tions of the otherwise unidentified layman, Constantine, and his son Leo to the
Monastery of the Asomaton (Archangels).38 Despite the lack of surviving titles, the materials used in the painting attest to the wealth of the New Church’s pa­trons. Gold and silver foil is applied to the halos of the Virgin and Christ, and semiprecious lapis lazuli appears extensively in the intense blue ground—early in­stances of these materials being used in a monumental context. The classicizing rendering of the painted figures further suggests that these patrons had Constanti­nopolitan ties. The closest stylistic parallels to the paintings of the New Church are offered by the illuminations of the Leo Bible, convincingly ascribed to the capi­tal and dated after 940.39 Images in the New Church, such as Peter Ordaining the First Deacons, share with the miniatures a similarly corporeal conception of the figure—small heads with freely realized features set on voluminous bodies (fig. 2.11). Black calligraphic brush strokes articulate the irregularities of the drapery folds, as well as the variated contours of the figures. The artist in both instances depicts sentient human beings. The Tokali master has modified this style to suit a monumental setting and monastic audience: The fresco lacks the classical illusionistic dcvices which create the vista in the miniature and which must have vis­ually titillated the sophisticated patron for whom it was executed. Nevertheless, in both the illumination and the wall painting, figures carve out their own space in the immediate foreground of the picture plane. In contrast to the frescoes of the Old Church, the figures of the New Church are provided a limited depth in which to move convincingly. In all, while the paintings of Tokali differ in function from those of the manuscripts of the so-called Macedonian Renaissance, they display a shared sensibility.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise Equestrian saint on north wall arch

The program of the New Church is one of the most elaborate to survive in By­zantium from the Middle Ages. Its Christological cycle includes both monumen­tal icons and dense narrative.,ui As in Kiliplar, certain scenes in the New Church are given special prominence—the Annunciation, Nativity, Transfiguration, Cru­cifixion, Ascension/Blessing, Pentecost, and Koimesis (Death of the Virgin). But in the New Church these images of events central to the Orthodox liturgical cal­endar are not only enlarged and isolated by frames, but they have also been inter­nally restructured. A comparison of the scenes of the Nativity from the Old Church and New Church demonstrates what might be termed the “iconization” of composition in the later monument (figs. 2.4 and 2.9). In the depiction of the Nativity in the Old Church, the artist contrives to move the eye inexorably from left to right. In the New Church the eye is entrapped by the image; details on the periphery return the viewer’s attention to the dominant central axis created by the star and the Child in the bath. The image is no longer read as an illustration of truths embedded in a text; rather, it is contemplated as the embodiment of those truths. The formal differences between these two images reflect a dramatic change in the way they function within their programs, representing a fundamental shift from didactic narration to festival icon.
Prominently positioned in a niche between the sanctuary and the prothesis apse is a fresco icon of the Virgin Eleousa (Virgin of Tenderness). It could be argued that this cult image was imported along with the other new programmatic ideas found in the New Church from the Virgin-protected capital of the Empire.1,1 Certainly the unusual thickness of the candle-wax deposits which until recently obscured this image documents the congregation’s veneration for the icon by indi­cating the large number of lamps once lit before it. The number of times the icon was copied in other churches in the vicinity reinforces the sense of the image’s high local status. But the inscription accompanying one of these replicas, naming it the “Queen of the Asomaton,” suggests that the icon lost whatever metropoli­tan connotations it might originally have had in favor of its local association with the Monastery of the Archangels. Meaning and form are transformed in the pro­cess of provincial assimilation.
The New Church itself shows a regional bias in certain programmatic empha­ses: the prominent depiction of scenes from the life of St. Basil, the great Early Christian bishop of the provincial capital of Cappadocia, Caesarea; the separate representation of each of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste in Asia Minor; and the monumental icon of St. Hieron guarding the entrance to the nave. There is also a definite military accent to the scheme of decoration. Portraitlike images of each of the forty soldiers frozen and martyred at Sebaste dominate the hagiographic reper-
tory of the nave. Another great military martyr, George, is St. Hieroris pendant guardian of access to the church. Hieron, a local martyr, is not represented in his Acts as a soldier, but he is dressed in full military regalia in Tokali Kilise. On the sole parapet slab separating the nave from the sanctuary corridor which retains its fresco decoration, the Roman general St. Eustathius is burned alive with his fam­ily in a brazen bull in one panel and the military hero St. Theodore occupies the second. The military bias of the program perhaps reflects the patronage of the lo­cal military aristocracy. This newly emerging elite, whose desire for independence and chivalric values are so boldly enunciated in the epic romance of Digenis Acri- tas, were, like the bureaucratic elite of the capital, dependent on the emperor’s fa­vor. However, the provincial basis of their power provided space for the active resentment of imperial authority. The scenes of St. Basil confronting the Arian Emperor Valens may represent a subtle anti-imperial statement.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise Church Fathers above St Amphilocus

The architecture of the New Church, like aspects of its decoration, suggests that the patrons of the New Church were not entirely dependent on metropolitan inspiration. The novelty and complexity of the plan as well as its architectural refinements—beveled piers, molded cornices, pseudorelieving arches, vault bosses, blind arcades, and elaborate liturgical furnishings—indicate that the New Church was not an experimental invention of local masons. But it is unlikely that this type was imported from Constantinople, as no transverse nave church has been discovered there. Close analogies are, however, found in northern Mesopota­mia. For example, Mar Yakub in Salah displays many of the same features found in the New Church: a transverse nave covered by a barrel vault divided by transverse arches into three bays, each of which is decorated by a boss; blind arches modulat­ing the walls; and to the east a tripartite sanctuary with a monumental arch mark­ing the entrance to the main apse.43 Thus it appears that when new architectural forms were sought, it was not necessarily inevitable that Constantinopolitan types were adopted. Metropolitan hegemony was by no means complete.
In fact, many tenth-century Cappadocian monuments are very much local prod­ucts, indicative of the continued independence of local artisans. This is clearest in architecture. The single-nave church, either barrel-vaulted or flat-roofed (often adorned with a sculptured cross), with a commodious horseshoe-plan apse con­tinues to be the most popular type. Even imported architectural forms, like the cross-in-square and the transverse nave, once introduced, seem to have been read­ily absorbed into the local architectural tradition. The New Church had architec­tural progeny in its vicinity almost immediately. The closest copy of Tbkali Kilise is an unpublished monument, here titled Chapel 7A, only a few hundred yards re­moved from its model. Its transverse barrel-vaulted nave with three eastern apses and lower, barrel-vaulted west arm and paiekklesion incorporate both the Old Church and New Church (fig. 2.12). Chapel 7 A is much smaller than its archetype and lacks an eastern corridor, but, like the New Church, its walls are elaborated with blind arcades and its vaults with bosses. Less exact copies of the New Church are numerous. The dominant feature of the New Church, its great transverse barrel-vaulted nave, is repeated most impressively in a church next to Sarica Ki­lise, near Urgiip. Chapels 6, 16, 28, and 2A in Goreme Valley also appropriate the formula. The number of copies made of Tokali Kilise appears to reflect not only on the monument’s high local status but also on the rapidity with which “for­eign’1 types could be assimilated.
Imported ideas in fresco decoration, as well as imported architectural types, were adopted by local craftsmen. An unpublished monument, Chapel 2B in Goreme, is typical of locally carved and decorated chapels. The nave of Chapel 2B is a simple rectangle, with a flat roof sculpturally elaborated with a very large cross to the east and three separately enframed crosses to the west (fig. 2.13). Its spa­cious singlc-sanctuary apse has fallen away. The lower of the two registers of paint­ing on the wall is devoted to standing saints. An elaborate figural cycle occupying the upper register and the quadrants between the arms of the ceiling cross in­cludes scenes from the Childhood of the Virgin and a Last Judgment, as well as a Christological sequence. This complex cycle, which seems to be a variation of the scheme found in the Old Church, demonstrates a similar preoccupation with nar­rative. ^ Individual images are also closely related to those in Tbkali Kilise’s west arm. The Nativity appears to be dependent on a rendering similar to that in the Old Church but modified to emphasize the separateness of the episodes. Thus Jo­seph no longer faces the previous scene of the Journey to Bethlehem but awk­wardly turns toward the reclining Virgin. The stylistic characteristics of this narrative mode are also modified in Chapel 2B. The geometric highlights which in the Old Church are schematized to conform to body parts have become in Chapel 2B decorative borders of white triangles, as in the drapery over Joseph’s thigh. This is not the only monument produced by this artist. The frescoes of El Nazar, Chapel 1 in Goreme Valley, are identical to those of Chapel 2B in their ico­nography, palette, and style, even to such details as the lively green underdrawings used by the artist to lay out his composition.44 In fact, a large number of complex programs executed with considerable skill can be ascribed to local artists working in a mode related to that in either the Old Church or in Kilujlar Kilise. Cappado­cian artists imitate artistic ideas newly imported from the heartlands of the Em­pire, but they transform them into a local idiom identifiable by its bias for isolated and flattened figures.

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise East wall and apse of Upper church

Similar tendencies are found in regional production affected by the frescoes of the New Church. Among the churches thus inspired is the Great Pigeon House at pavu^in.'”1 The church, with its single barrel-vaulted nave terminated by a large apse, looks conventionally Cappadocian despite the complexity of its east end (it has diakonikon and piothesis apses and transeptlike blind arches). This indige­nous form is adorned with paintings dependent on Tokali Kilise. The calligraphic hatching of highlights and shadows used by the master of the New Church to model his figures is transformed by the painter of the Pigeon House into a decora­tive and flattening interplay of unmodulated line. The artist at £avu§in apparently did not see linear modeling as a means of creating the illusion of three dimen­sions, but rather as another variety of pattern. The cool, varied palette of the New Church is replaced with a limited repertory of brilliant ochres, green, black, and white. The program of the Pigeon House reflects the artist’s dependence on Tbkali Kilise even more explicitly than his painting style. The west end of the barrel vault is divided into narrative registers arranged like those of the Old Church. The east end of the vault is devoted to the combined scene of the Blessing of the Apos­tles and the Ascension (though through misunderstanding or a lack of care, there are two additional apostles), analogous to the central bay of the barrel vault of the Goreme Valley, Chapel 2B. South wall: the Nativity New Church. The medieval programmer of the Great Pigeon House viewed his model as a whole and not as a series of discrete phases.
The military bias of the decoration of the Great Pigeon House is even more pro­nounced than that of its archetype in Goreme: The militant Archangel Michael, with Joshua bowed before him, is depicted immediately above the prothesis niche, in which are represented the warrior-emperor Nicephorus Phocas and his family; on the wall of the nave, soldier saints depicted as knights are led by the magistios Melias toward the transept niche, in which appears a second colossal image of Mi­chael; at whose feet are badly damaged portraits of the church’s patrons. The num­ber and prominence of elite portraits that appear in the church suggest that the donors were associated with the highest echelons of Byzantine society. The work of local artists was apparently privileged by highly placed patrons.
Monuments such as Chapel 2B and the Great Pigeon House not only reflect a considerable dependence on foundations which had direct or indirect links with the capital; but they also provide insight into how metropolitan forms were inter­preted by artists in the provinces. Although external influence may affect the ico­nography and style of painted decoration, local artists show some resistance to imported artistic conventions, such as hierarchical programming (see below) and the use of space-creating devices. They avoid the modeling of figures or the intro­duction of perspectival elements within the picture plane. The flattening and simplification of form characteristic of the Cappadocian artists’ reactions to metropolitan models complements an abiding interest in the isolated figure. Their images are highly legible. Finally, the many chapels apparently executed by local artists indicate a density of provincial artistic productivity for which docu­mentation in other parts of the Empire has been lost.
Near Sinassos, Church of the Holy Apostles. General view of the east enc^ showing the „ Liturgical Maiestas in the apse conch Further evidence of the nature of local expression is found in the iconographic features of church programming. Even in those monuments which have the strongest affiliation with metropolitan art, certain features appear autochthonos. For example, the most common theme found in the sanctuary in tenth-century Cappadocian churches is the Maiestas Domini. A particularly elaborate version survives in the Holy Apostles at Sinassos, a church closely related to the Old Church of Tokali Kilise. In a starry aureole with an irised frame, Christ sits on a jeweled lyreback throne, blessing with his right hand and holding in his left a closed book. Around the throne are the symbols of the evangelists, originally identified with liturgical inscriptions: kelegonta (“calling,” the man), kekiagota (“roaring,” the lion), adonta (“screaming” the eagle), and boonta (“bellowing/’ the bull). Below Christ is a crystal sea with adoring angels on either side; above him is the hand of God and medallions of the sun and moon; to his left and right arebexapteiyga (six-winged figures) and pairs of flaming wheels. Flanking the im­age are the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel; on the wall below is a series of standingsaints, including John the Baptist, St. Euphemia, St, Nicholas, St. Anastasia, and, originally, probably the Virgin on the cord of the apse.
The earlier scholarly supposition that the Cappadocian Maiestas was artisti­cally anachronistic has been reassessed: There are metropolitan examples of the theme from the late ninth and tenth centuries.50 It is not the prototype of the im­age but its persistent popularity which now needs investigation. Some insight into the relevance of the image to the monks of the province is provided by the theme’s textual sources. There are, of course, Old and New Testament visions.51 The syn­thetic Cappadocian vision must have been inspired also by liturgical texts. The Prayer of the Trisagion at the beginning of the Mass of the Catechumens in the lit­urgy of St. John Chrysostom shows the closeness of liturgical parallels:

Cappadocia

Karşõ Kilise Apse detail of prothesis niche

Holy of holies, our God, the one holiness and in holiness unceasing, holy from the beginning, who possesses unsurpassed glory; holy God who through the Word cre­ated all; holy God whom the four-headed beast praises in an unceasing voice; holy God who is adored and praised by multitudes of holy angels and archangels trem­bling in awe; holy God, watching and inclining your ear toward the many-eyed Cherubim with the unceasing voices and unclosing eyes; holy God who is carried by six-winged seraphim and who accepts the beating of their wings and their vic­torious song of songs, the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Hosts.
The Old and New Testament sources combine admonitions to the sinful with a promise of salvation to the righteous. Thus the benefits or rewards of monastic self-discipline, as well as the dire consequences of failure, are implicit in the im­age. The inclusion of prophets and saints as witnesses of the superhuman gives proof of the divine appearance, as well as providing figures with whom the monks could identify Further, the liturgical basis of the image, specifically alluded to in the inscriptions of the evangelist symbols, embodies the heart of the monastic vo­cation: the unceasing glorification of God. In all, the theme is particularly appro­priate for an ascetic setting. Its popularity in Cappadocia reflects not simply provincial conservatism but the maintenance of the values of ascetic provincial monasticism. In the same way, the erosion of this theme’s prominence may well reflect changing values in the cenobitic communities of the province. Although the scene maintains its position of prominence in the sanctuary conch of the Great Pigeon House, the eschatological impact of the Prophetic Vision is modified already in the New Church. The image is relocated from the sanctuary to the prothesis apse (whence the portraits of holy ascetics are also exiled), and simplified—only the enthroned Christ flanked by archangels and accompanied by a hexapterygon and tetramoxph remains. By the middle of the eleventh century the scene had disappeared altogether, in favor of the more hierarchical image of the Deesis.