Donne, Benjamin Donisthrope Alsop (1856-1907)
1882 - 03
Inscribed: Gikko Monastery, Troodos Mts, Cyprus
Donisthorpe Donne was district officer in Limassol from 1880 to 1882. He was the person who decided and designed the costumes of the Pioneer Regiment. He was based in Limassol but travelled all over the island and enjoyed illustrating the country and its people. The landscape portrait is of the Troodos mountains where the Kykkos monastery is nestled. The monastery’s rooftops are those of local mountain dwellings subjected to heavy snowfall in winter.The road appears in a rudimentary state and it could only be for animal use. This is a north eastern view of the church. The steeple does not yet exist. It was built shortly after 1882. What appears to be a zivania distillery is located on the right hand side of the picture. Zivania is a strong alcoholic aperitif traditionally produced in Cyprus in red and white colour. In fact, Donne made explicit reference to this: ‘The Agumenos was a grande old veteran and showed us all over the curious and unique old chapel. I also tasted the Ghikko “red mastic” for the first time’. We have no solid evidence to identify the other two constructions which appear in the painting. The small slate steeple-roofed construction situated left of the church is, presumably, the monastery’s ossuary. Traditionally, Orthodox monastic ossuaries are constructed outside the monastery’s walls with a natural barrier such as a road or riverbed separating the two. It stands as a symbolic barrier between the realm of the living and the dead. The long two storey building that appears behind the ossuary must be either the monastery’s staples or a guest house. A penned vegetable garden lies on the left hand side of the church. Traditionally, Orthodox monastic establishments lay great ideological emphasis on self subsistence; thus, making the vegetable garden a most necessary arrangement for the community’s nutritional purposes. The two human figures in the middle of the watercolour provide an indication as to the scale of the monuments.
18 x 26 cm
Landscapes, Architecture, Architecture, Byzantine, Monasteries, Religious Institutions--Buildings
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