The early decades of the 16th century were a period of artistic decline in Macedonia, in strong contrast with the great flowering of painting that was to follow. In 1535 the Cretan painter Theophanis decorated the katholikon of the Great Lavra on Mount Athos and went on to work on other monasteries, either alone or assisted by colleagues. His presence was to have a decisive influence on painting in mainland Greece.
Another artist invited to Mount Athos was Frangos Katelanos of Thebes, an outstanding painter and a representative of the Theban school, which differed from the Cretan school. The practice of inviting painters from outside was not confined to Mount Athos: Eustathios of Arta, Onouphrios of Verati and Frangos Katelanos (or possibly another painter of his circle) were all invited to Kastoria.