Nicholas Melvani

Visiting Fellow

  • Concentration
    Historical Sciences
    National Hellenic Research Foundation
    Research Project:
    Texts, Icons, and Humanism in 15th-Century Painting in Constantinople

Nicholas Melvani obtained his PhD in Byzantine Archaeology and Art History from the University of Athens in 2008, with a one-year Erasmus scholarship in Paris (Paris 1/Panthéon-Sorbonne) in 2003-2004. His Doctoral dissertation “Late Byzantine Sculpture” was published as a monograph in 2013. He has collaborated on several research projects of the Institute of Historical Research of the National Research Foundation in Athens. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (Koç University, Istanbul) and at the Stavros Niarchos/Koç University Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies in Istanbul. His research interests focus on Byzantine sculpture, epigraphy, and on the history and topography of Constantinople, especially during the Late Byzantine period.

About the Research Project

Texts, Icons, and Humanism in 15th-Century Painting in Constantinople

The artistic activity in Constantinople during the last decades of Byzantium is poorly documented, in contrast to the well-studied art of the so-called “Palaiologan Renaissance” of the period from 1261 to 1328. However, Constantinopolitan painters are attested outside the city after 1400, especially on Crete, where they played a defining role in the early stages of the local school of icon painting, by exporting the style and iconography of the capital. At the same time, several 15th-century texts attest to the decoration of tombs with wall-paintings and to the production of icons in Constantinople itself, even during the final years of the Byzantine Empire. My project aims to combine this indirect evidence on painting in 15th-century Constantinople in order to generate a revised picture of the last phase of painting in the Byzantine capital within the context of the crucial issues of the time, namely the discussions for the Union of the Churches and the complex relations between Byzantium, the Italian maritime cities, and the Ottomans. 

Previous Roles

  • Visiting Research Fellow
    2016 - 2016