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Athos Holy Mount

Portable Icons
2.101 The Lamentation
18th cent.
Skete of St Anne
Wood, egg tempera, 27 x 21.2 cm


The Original New Testament

The Lamentation scene in this icon has few figures, in contrast to the icon no. 2.81 in the Monastery of Docheiariou. The dead Christ lies on top of a sarcophagus, on a winding sheet held by two archangels. The two winged Archangels M(Michael) and Γ(Gabriel), left and right, at Christ's head and feet respectively, are bending slightly over the body. A distinctive feature is the horizontal bar of the cross behind the tomb, which almost reaches the heads of the archangels, thus emphasizing the breadth of the icon. Lastly, the ground is blue-green with a few flowering plants.

The archangels have taken the place occupied in other cases by the Virgin and Joseph or the Virgin and St John the Theologian (Chatzidakis 1985, no. 94), of historical significance in the first case and liturgical-eucharistic in the second. This ahistorical treatment of the subject and the assignment of central roles to the archangels is to some extent familiar from ecclesiastic embroidery (Chatzidaki-Vei 1953, p. 28). However, in this case we could say that the icon followed the iconographic model of the burial of St John the Baptist or St Catherine by the archangels.

In his treatment of colour the artist employed the contrast between the archangels' diaconal robes, fire red for Gabriel and dark green for Michael. The same approach is used for the blue-green ground, contrasted with the dark brown sarcophagus and cross. The basic flesh tone is dark green, with the highlights limited both on the body of Christ and the archangels. In general the linear rendering is avoided, and the colours used are typical of early eighteenth-century painting on Mount Athos.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Index of exhibits of Skete of St. Anne
18th century

The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Icon of the Mother of God and New Testament Reader Promote Greek Learning
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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