June 30 – August 27
Mosaic Now: works from Italy and Australia
Mosaic Now presents the finest Italian and Australian mosaics including over twenty works from La Scuola di Mosaicisti del Friuli in Spilimbergo, Italy, an international leader in mosaic education. The history of mosaic making is demonstrated through replicas of Roman mosaics featuring the distinctive Roman laying style and use of limited palette as well as replicas of Byzantine mosaics with their flattened picture planes and strict laying principles. Contemporary Italian mosaics using hand-cut stone and Venetian glass smalti reveal a range of innovative styles and are exhibited alongside the work of 15 professional Australian mosaicists including Helen Bodycomb and David Jack.
A Bundoora Homestead Art Centre exhibition
The Kykkos monastery, which lies 20 km west of Pedoulas, is the most famous monastery in Cyprus. The Kykkos monastery was founded in 1092 by the by the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
According to tradition a virtuous hermit, called Esaias, was living in a cave on the mountain of Kykkos. One day, the Byzantine governor of the island Doux Manuel Voutoumites, who was spending the summer at a village of Marathasa because of the heat of the season, went into the forest to hunt. Having lost his way in the forest he met monk Esaias and asked him to show him the way. The hermit who was not interested in the things of this world would not answer his questions. Voutoumites got angry at the monk’s indifference and called him names and even maltreated him. Not long after, when the Doux returned to Nicosia, he fell ill with an incurable illness by the name of lethargia. In his terrible condition he remembered how inhumanly he had treated the hermit Esaias and asked God to cure him so that he might go to ask the hermit personally for forgiveness. And this came to pass. But God had appeared in front of the hermit and revealed to him that the very thing that had happened had been planned by the divine will and advised him to ask Voutoumites to bring the icon of the Virgin, that had been painted by the Apostle Luke, to Cyprus.
The icon was kept in the imperial palace at Constantinople. When Boutoumites heard the hermit’s wish he was taken aback because he considered such a thing impossible. Then Esaias explained to him that it was a matter of divine wish and they agreed to travel together to Constantinople for the realization of their aim.
Time was passing and Voutoumites could not find the right opportunity to present himself in front of the emperor and ask for the icon. For this reason he provided Esaias with other icons and other necessary things and sent him back to Cyprus, at the same time placating him that he would soon see the emperor. By divine dispensation the daughter of the emperor had fallen ill with the same illness that had struck Voutoumites. The latter grasped the opportunity and went to see the emperor Alexios. He recounted to him his personal experience with the monk Esaias and assured him that his daughter would be cured if he sent to Cyprus the holy icon of the Virgin. In his desperation the emperor, seeing that he had no other option, agreed. His daughter became well instantly. The emperor, however, not wanting to be parted from the icon of the Virgin, called a first-class painter and ordered him to paint an exact copy of the icon with the aim of sending this one to Cyprus. In the evening the Mother of God herself appears in a dream of the emperor’s and tells him that her wish is for her icon to be sent to Cyprus and for the copy to be kept by the emperor. On the following day the royal boat with the icon of the Virgin departed for Cyprus where Esaias was awaiting for it. During the procession of the icon from the coast to the Troodos mountains, according to legend, the trees, participating in the welcoming ceremonies, were piously bending their trunks and branches. With patronage provided by the emperor Alexios Komnenos a church and monastery were built at Kykkos, where the icon of the Virgin was deposited.
This icon, which is covered in silver gilt and enclosed in a shrine of tortoise shell and mother-of-pearl, holds an eminent position in the church. The Icon of Virgin Mary miraculously wept for a whole month in 1997.