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Asinou across Time

Asinou across Time

Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus

Edited by Annemarie Weyl Carr and Andréas Nicolaïdès

ISBN 9780884023494

Publication date: 05/20/2013

The church of Asinou is among the most famous in Cyprus. Built around 1100, the edifice, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is decorated with accretions of images, from the famous fresco cycle executed shortly after initial construction to those made in the early seventeenth century. During this period the church served the adjacent monastery of the Mother of God ton Phorbion ("of the vetches"), and was subject to Byzantine, Lusignan (1191-1474), Venetian (1474-1570), and Ottoman rule. This monograph is the first on one of Cyprus's major diachronically painted churches. Written by an international team of renowned scholars, the book sets the accumulating phases of Asinou's art and architecture in the context of the changing fortunes of the valley, of Cyprus, and of the eastern Mediterranean. Chapters include the first continuous history of the church and its immediate setting; a thorough analysis of its architecture; editions, translations, and commentary on the poetic inscriptions; art-historical studies of the post-1105/6 images in the narthex and nave; a detailed comparative analysis of the physical and chemical properties of the frescoes; and a diachronic table of paleographical forms.


  • Although the church is famous to many for its original fresco program (1105/6) by the so-called Asinou Master, Asinou across Time focuses on the history and decorative campaigns of the later phases of painting (twelfth to sixteenth centuries). In addition to an up-to-date analysis that confirms and solidifies many of David Winfield’s published conclusions, the book introduces a new level of technical analysis into the world of Byzantine painting (chapter 7) and represents a number of other firsts: the first attempt at a comprehensive history for the church and monastery (chapter 1), the first illustrated inventory of its paleographic forms (appendix), and the first monograph on one of the island’s major diachronic churches. As such, Asinou across Time is both a foundational work for this particular church, and sets a high bar for future monographs on Cypriot monuments…As a whole, Asinou across Time provides a perfect parallel for the monument it examines. Both are multi-layered, beautifully decorated with high-quality images, and collaborative, well-funded works whose complex wholes comprise equally interesting individual parts.

    —James G. Schryver, Bryn Mawr Classical Review


  • Annemarie Weyl Carr is Professor Emerita of Art History at Southern Methodist University.
  • Andréas Nicolaïdès is maître de conférence of Byzantine Art History and Archaeology at Aix Marseille Université.

Book Details

  • 448 pages
  • 1-7/16 x 9 x 11 inches
  • Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection