2.23 The Archangel Gabriel (Great Deesis)
14th c., 3rd quarter
Wood, egg tempera, 139 x 94 cm
Gabriel is portrayed from the waist up turning three-quarters to the right and holding an orb in his right hand and a sceptre in his left. He wears a pink tunic and orange himation elaborately decorated with gold striation.
With its noble ethos, patrician poise, broad physical bulk terminating in a small head, delicately moulded hands with long, slender fingers, and flowing drapery, the impressive figure of Gabriel has its origins in superlative works of monumental painting from the early Palaeologan period, such as some of the unpublished frescoes in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Thessaloniki.
However, the iconic type, with its intense gaze and linear highlighting in the form of limited radial striations beneath the eyes and a luminous sheen on the brow, is also seen both in the accompanying Great Deesis icon of Christ Pantokrator and in a number of frescoes and icons of the second half of the fourteenth century, including the Panagia Tricheroussa (Our Lady with Three Hands) in Chelandari Monastery (Bogdanovic - Djuric - Medakovic 1978, fig. 93) and St George from the Church of the Panagia Tripiti in Aigio (Vocotopoulos 1995, fig. 145).