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Athos Holy Mount

Portable Icons
2.120 Sts John the Baptist and Nicholas
17th c., 1st quarter
Skete of St Anne
Wood, egg tempera, 29 x 26.5 cm


The Original New Testament

The two saints are portrayed frontal and standing against a gold background, the ground on which they stand being a bluish green. Their names are written in red Cyrillic lettering, and the inscriptions on the Baptist's scroll and St Nicholas' book are also in Slavonic.

St John on the left, wearing a dark bluish-green goatskin and a brown mantle, is represented in a type known from the Palaeologan period which repeatedly occurs in the works of Cretan painters (Chatzidakis 1985, nos. 18, 35), the closest parallel being the figure of the Baptist in the border of an icon by Andreas Ritzos in Tokyo (Chatzidakis 1985, pl. 201).

St Nicholas, in a crimson phelonion and bluish-green sticharion, extends both arms, making a gesture of blessing with his right hand and holding an open Gospel in his left. A similar iconography found in both early and later works (Garidis 1989, figs. 93, 120. Chatzidakis 1985, no. 163), is also employed in an icon of St Nicholas of 1605 from Sykia, Chalkidiki, which is believed to be an Athonite work (Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art 1986, no. 150).

This icon with the conventionalised figures of the two saints and the linear, dry modelling of faces and clothing can be dated to the first quarter of the seventeenth century. It must, however, be ascribed to a painter who copied Cretan models in his own folk style.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Index of exhibits of Skete of St. Anne
17th 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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