Visiting Fellow, Fall 2019
Georgi Parpulov read History at the University of Sofia and Art History at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, he worked at the Walters Art Museum, where he catalogued the museum's collection of Greek manuscripts. After submitting a doctoral thesis on Byzantine Psalters, he taught Byzantine Art and Archaeology and Greek Palaeography at the University of Oxford, then did curatorial work at the European and Middle East departments of the British Museum. He now works for a research project at the University of Birmingham, studying the manuscript tradition of Greek commentaries on the New Testament.
I am preparing a monograph on the history of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts, which I will trace chronologically. Varying patterns of production (e.g. the preponderance of small Gospel books in the tenth century, the large number of illuminated Gospel lectionaries and homiliaries made in the eleventh) will be set against the background of Byzantine monetary and economic history. In times of social disruption, such as the reign of Alexis I Komnenos, changes in book patronage will be examined in connection with the changing composition of the Byzantine ruling class. The style of miniature painting will be related to broader developments in Byzantine visual art. The role of non-Constantinopolitan production centres (e.g. Palestine and Rome in the ninth century, Antioch in the eleventh, Sicily in the twelfth, Crete in the fifteenth) will be highlighted in order to obtain a balanced general view of Greek manuscript illumination as a whole. During my stay at Princeton, I wrote six chapters on the Late Byzantine (Palaeologan) period.