2.128 The Prophet Elijah
ca. mid-18th c.
Wood, egg tempera, 28 x 21.5 cm
The prophet is depicted in the desert sitting in front of a cave formed by two rocks, which frame the composition. He wears a yellowish tunic and a red goatskin and turns his head to the right towards the raven bringing him manna. In red lettering on the gold ground of the icon is the inscription: 'The Prophet Elijah'.
This iconographical type was established in Palaeologan art, continued with slight variations in the post-Byzantine period, and was particularly popular with the Cretan painters (Chatzidakis 1985, no. 29).
The iconographical schema is in the Cretan tradition, but the rendering of the rocky landscape and the figure of the prophet, with his harsh linear features and stylised beard and hair, are characteristics of eighteenth-century works (Karakatsani 1980, nos. 184, 196, 313). This icon of the Prophet Elijah must be chronologically quite close to the icon of Sts Anthony, Euthymios and Sabbas from the Nea Skete (no. 2.130), which is dated to 1766.