Short texts on small objects
DOI link for Short texts on small objects
Short texts on small objects book
The epigram on the Vatopedi enkolpion establishes a series of adroit parallels between the icon’s figural programme, and its material and shape. The role performed by an epigram attached to an enkolpion is often to create a poetic framework for the act of viewing. Central to the impact and allure of devotional pectorals is, naturally, their small size. This key element was recognized and exploited by the Byzantines to both spiritual and aesthetic ends. The visual presentation of the epigram befits its compendious nature. The verses are arranged in a compact textual block, which, occupying the entire back surface of the enkolpion, features numerous ligatures and other elements of graphic compression: some letters are reduced in size and placed underneath larger letters, while others are pushed into interlinear spaces. In foregrounding a sense of wonder, the epigram may zoom in on different aspects of the enkolpion: its imagery, design, craftsmanship, or material fabric.