The lecture focuses on the workshop of Michel Astrapas and Eutychios, two painters from Thessaloniki and among the best-known Late Byzantine artists. Their artistic production can be followed for some twenty-five years, from 1295, when they executed the wall paintings in the first known signed monument, the Church of the Virgin Peribleptos in Ohrid until 1321 and their decoration of the Church of Saint Niketas at Čučer (Republic of North Macedonia). Authors of the major painted programs that embellish the foundations of the Serbian king Stefan Milutin (r. 1282–1321), the activity of Michel Astrapas and Eutychios embodies the intense artistic interactions between Byzantine Empire under the Palaeologan dynasty and the kingdom of Serbia. Moreover, Michel Astrapas and Eutychios passed on some of the most accomplished samples of the early Palaeologan art and they influenced the future development of Late Byzantine painting.
The lecture shows that the artistic culture of these two painters was cultivated in prominent centers, such as Thessaloniki, and in relation with Constantinople and Mount Athos. At the same time, it points out that their presence in Serbia was not limited to a mechanical transplantation of Byzantine models. In turn, the work of Michel Astrapas and Eutychios reveals a rare osmosis between their artistic personalities, Byzantine pictorial and iconographic standards and local political and cultural traditions. These open broader questions about the artists and artistic exchange in Late Byzantine period that this lecture aims to raise.