Onufri was a sixteenth-century Albanian painter known for his Byzantine-style icons. He also painted portraits, landscapes and churches.
The years in which he was born were tumultuous, the Ottomans had conquered Albania with Mohammed II after the death of the national hero Skanderbeg, who had managed to keep his nation united and independent until he was alive.
Under Turkish rule, most of the population converted to the Islamic religion. In this context, Onufri painted above all icons that contained a strong sense of affirmation and resistance to the Ottoman invader both in a patriotic sense and in a religious sense.
Of the painter only a few facts are known, above all the movements he made in Albanian land, he in fact until 1547 painted in Berat then moved to Kostur and from 1555 he moved to Shelcan near Elbasan to finish his career in the village of Valsh.
During the period in which he painted, he held the office of Protopapa, a position he received for intellectual merit, and thanks to his charisma he became one of the highest spheres of the Byzantine church. He also founded a school for icon painting, which was later continued by his son Nicola and his followers Onufri Kiprioti and Konstantin Shpataraku.
His painting escapes from the canons of Byzantine sacred art, very tied to rigid schemes and rules, he frees his painting from these bridles and composes more innovative works for his age, inserts urban landscapes and bucolic views but also real characters, in one of his Saints George and the dragon he represents Skanderbeg against the Turks.
This realistic technique is directly linked to the Italian and European Renaissance movement, he manages to give a representation of the inner life of his characters, humanizing them, making them less distant from the viewer watching the work.
Follow Albania News on Google News