2.118 St John the Baptist
16th and 18th c.
Wood, egg tempera, 148 x 89 x 3.4 cm
The hermit saint is portrayed winged like an angel, facing left towards Christ giving a blessing from within a quadrant of heaven. In his left hand he holds an open scroll with the text: OPAC OIA ΠACXOYCIN Ω Θ(EO) ΛOΓE OI ΠTAICMATΩN EΛEΓXOI... (`See what they suffer, Lord, who censure sins'), an obvious reference to his mission, which led to his martyrdom. The same hand holds a staff topped by a cross, while his right is raised in a gesture of speech to Christ. By his feet lies his severed head and the axe in the trunk of a low tree. Rocky outcrops fill the landscape.
Despite the overpainting (exposed parts of the Baptist's body, the himation covering the sheep's pelt), the iconographic type is clear and is the one which is repeated throughout the Turkish period with only minor variations (Vokotopoulos 1990, p. 78). The artist's skill both as a draughtsman and as a painter is evident in the figure of Christ and the severed head of the Baptist.