ccording to the historian George Pachymeres, afer the recovery of Constantinople from the Latins,
Michael VIII Palaiologos
set up, near the church of the Holy Apostles, a bronze sculptural group representing him on his knees, offering a model of the city to his patron saint, the Archangel Michael. This reference, beyond the interest it presents as a record of a clearly political act, also offers us one of the few scraps of information we possess as regards large-sized works of sculpture carved in the round in Byzantine art. Although this work is believed to have been created by a Western - most probably Italian - sculptor, is an indication of the revival of interest in monumental sculpture in Byzantium.
The sculptural works of the period that have survived to our day are mostly tomb monuments and architectural adornments. Their themes and techniques reveal a return to older standards of the Early Christian and Middle Byzantine periods, while
Gothic features are not
uncommon, either. The sculptured decoration of the church of the Virgin Paregoretissa in Arta and some sculptures now in the Byzantine Museum in Athens are characteristic examples of works influenced by Western art.
At the same time, probably for reasons of economy, wood was used in parts of the church such as door-panels or the iconostasis. The wooden door of the church of the Panagia Olympiotissa in Elasson is an exquisite specimen of the woodcarving of the period, a form of sculpture that developed at that time and was to become widely disseminated in the Post-Byzantine period.
See also: Pachymeres
Paregoretissa in Arta