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by Archaeology Newsroom

Three representations of the Last Judgement in Western Crete

The iconography of the Last Judgment in Byzantine art basically emerged in the 11th century, while in the four following centuries it was additionally developed and enriched as a result of the awakening and maturity of the individual conscience that enabled believers to consider the questions of life and death for themselves. Many rural chapels in Crete are decorated with wall paintings of the Last Judgment. To illustrate this specific subject, three monuments are selected, all of them located around the village Kandaka in the province of Khania. One of the churches, honoring the name of St. George, according to an inscription, dates back to to 1409 – 1410, while the other two, honoring the names of St. Prokopios and the Virgin Mary respectively, are not dated. By examining the Last Judgment frescoes in these churches we reach the following conclusions. The choice of the individual, secondary subjects that form the composition of the Last Judgment, as well as their position in this complex representation, have probably been influenced by the iconography of the East or have been dictated by specific limitations. Crete, located far from the art centres of the Byzantine world, accepts their influence but transforms the prototypes into representations with an archaic look about them.