early photographs.37 Frequent fires, earthquakes and wilful destruction have either demolished or totally transformed monuments on Mount Athos, in Cyprus and in Greece, making Bars'kyj's drawings an invaluable and unique record of otherwise vanished monuments.
Bars'kyj took pride in being a self-taught artist, as one passage in his journal makes explicit.38 To the modern eye his technique in pen and ink looks simple and 'so uninfluenced, genuine and pure that it is at once able to express the artist's vision and his psychological approach to his subject',39 but this did not prevent his approach from being that of a scholar, rather than of a dilettante. The precision with which Bars'kyj set out to tackle his task can be seen in the manner in which he copied 'Cleopatra's Needle', an obelisk, which he had seen in Alexandria in 1730. Having measured its width and estimated the height, and finding nobody to explain to him the meaning of the hieroglyphs, he proceeded to copy one side of the obelisk, as he says, 'to the amazement of onlookers'.40 The resulting drawing is one of the earliest accurate transcriptions of hieroglyphs to be made in the eighteenth century. 41
Further education may be the best explanation for the changes encountered in the final section of Bars'kyj's journal. With the support of the patriarch of Antioch, Sylvester the Cypriot, Bars'kyj spent the years between 1729 and 1734 studying under the distinguished scholar, the hieromonk Jacob.42 Then from 1737 to 1743 Bars'kyj was on Patmos, at least part of the time studying at the Patmos School, initially under Makarios,43 with whom he had spent some time on an earlier visit, and then with his successor Gerasimos. However, most of the time he studied independently, taught local children and wrote a textbook for the study of Latin by Greek speakers.44 Bars'kyj appears to have placed
37 Peter Burridge writes concerningBars'kyj's Docheiariou drawing, 'Every major element in Bars'kyj's illustration can be identified today.' P. J. Burridge, 'The development of monastic architecture on Mount Athos with special reference to the monasteries of Pantocrator and Chilandari', PhD dissertation, University of York (UK), 1976, 253.
39 P. M. Mylonas, Athos and its monastic institutions through old engravings and other works of art (Athens: National Academy ofFine Arts, 1963), 21.
40 Barsukov, Stranstvovaniia, II, 163; the reproduction is plate 18. For a description of his process of work, Bars'kyjMs., fol. 245r.
41 See E. Iversen, Obelisks in exile (Copenhagen: G. E. C. Gad Publishers, 1972), ii, 90-147. I express my gratitude to Miss C. Andrews of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum in London for observations that she made to me concerning Bars'kyj's transcription ofhieroglyphs.
42 On the hieromonk Jacob, see Bars'kyjMs., fols. 240v.-24iv., 247r., 264v.
43 On Makarios of Patmos, see Bars'kyjMs., fols. 256v., 3i6v.-320v.
44 Bars'kyj's Latin grammar does not appear to have survived. For his discussion of it, see Bars'kyjMs., fol. 320v.
Was this article helpful?