THEOPHANES the Greek
(b. ca. 1340, Constantinople, d. ca. 1410, ?)
Theophanes the Greek (in Russian Feofan Grek), painter from Constantinople, active mainly in Russia. He is said to have been a prolific decorator of churches, but only one fresco cycle survives that is certainly from his own hand, in the church of the Transfiguration at Novgorod (1378). This is one of the outstanding monuments of Russian medieval art, showing the highly personal version of the Byzantine style that Theophanes brought to Russia; his figures are vigorous and strongly characterized, and his brushwork has an almost impressionistic freedom and dash.
Theophanes is known to have carried out commissions in Moscow between 1395 and 1405, but none of his work there survives except some icons for the Cathedral of the Annunciation, which were painted with the help of assistants and are poorly preserved. According to a contemporary source Theophanes was also famous as a book-illuminator. No signed or documented work in this field is known by him, but several examaples have been attributed to him.
Theophanes made a great impression on painting in Novgorod and Moscow in the 15th century, notably on Rublyov.