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Monuments de l'Athos

Cover of the book Monuments de l'Athos
Inner pages of the book Monuments de l'Athos
Inner pages of the book Monuments de l'Athos

The book Monuments de l'Athos avec le concours de l'armée française d'Orient et de l’École française d'Athènes is a photographic album featuring 264 photographs with murals from the monasteries of Mount Athos. The volume was published by archaeologist and historian Gabriel Millet, a member of the École francaise d'Athenes. The book includes valuable photographic and historical material. It has contributed to the research, study and promotion of monumental painting.

External appearance and illustrations

The book Monuments de l'Athos (Monuments of Mount Athos) is 29 cm (width) x 39 cm (height). It comprises 261 pages which remain uncut.

The volume has a brown, leather cover. It features 264 photographs of murals and mosaics from monasteries of Mount Athos. The photographs are in excellent condition and accompanied by legends with text.

A rich photographic collection

In this book, archaeologist Gabriel Millet has included 264 photographs from murals found in the monasteries of Mount Athos:

  • Great Lavra.
  • Agios Dionysios.
  • Hilandar.
  • Protato.
  • Vatopedi.
  • Xenophontos.

The photographs are presented in chronological order, considering their date of creation of the works and not the date of their conservation.

The text that would accompany the photographs of the album was never published. However, the explanatory notes that are given are enough to convey the true picture of the Mount Athos monasteries, as well as their Byzantine and post-Byzantine murals and mosaics.

A scientific expedition at Mount Athos

Gabriel Millet’s work begun in 1894, was repeated in 1898 and progressed faster in 1918. He had to return 2 more times, in 1919 and 1920, to complete the collection. These expeditions to Mount Athos required a stay of many months.

The photographic album Monuments de l'Athos is an important piece of historical evidence. It was a significant scientific and publishing event for the scholars of Byzantine art in the first decades of the 20th century.

For many years, this album was the only source for the study of the murals of Mount Athos. Until the publication of this volume, scholars believed that the Athos murals were dated from the 16th century onwards. However, reliable evidence led Millet to date some of the murals from the 14th century.

Gabriel Millet: a leading scientist

Gabriel Millet (1867-1953) was a French archaeologist, historian, member of the École francaise d'Athenes (French School of Archaeology) and Professor of Byzantine History.

In 1891 he received a History Degree from the University of Paris. In that same year, he arrived in Greece as a member of the École francaise d'Athenes and stayed until 1895.

In 1899 he was appointed Assistant Professor at the École pratique des hautes études (Department of Religious Sciences).

In 1926 he became a Professor of Byzantine Art at Collège de France and in 1929 he was elected as a member of the French Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. He retired from university teaching in 1937.

Gabriel Millet left a deep mark on the study and promotion of Medieval Hellenism and its art. His contribution to the research, study and promotion of monumental painting was enormous.

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