2.102 St Makarios the Roman
Skete of St Anne
Wood, egg tempera, 23 x 19 cm
Donors usually commission an icon of the saint whose name they bear, but in the case of this icon of St Makarios the Roman the donor, according to the inscription at the bottom, was the Hieromonk Nektarios 'Δέησις του δούλου του θεου νεκταρίου 'Ιερομονάχου' (Supplication of the servant of God Nektarios, hieromonk).
This small icon depicts the hermit saint seated on a rock at the entrance to a cave, with his hands on the heads of two lions crouching at his feet left and right. The scene accurately represents the story of the saint as described in his Life in the Synaxarium (October 23). This treatment of the subject, reminiscent of the story of St Gerasimos the Jordanian, is not, however, found on Mount Athos - at least in the large iconographic ensembles.
In the refectories of Mount Athos (the Great Lavra, Docheiariou, Vatopedi) the saint is always portrayed standing, full-length, beside the other great ascetic saints, Peter the Athonite and Onouphrios. The iconographic and stylistic treatment of the subject, the olive green underpainting, the limited highlights in the flesh modelling and the geometrical rendering of the rocks attribute the work to an eighteenth-century Athonite workshop.