2.37 Portrait of Neagoe Basarab and his son Theodosios
16th c., 2nd decade
Wood, egg tempera, 32 x 25 cm
On this small panel are portrayed, turning three-quarters to the right, the busts of the ruling Prince of Wallachia, Neagoe Basarab (1512-21), and his son Theodosios. Both are dressed in the typical attire of the ruling princes of Wallachia. In the upper right corner is the hand of God, blessing them both.
Neagoe had particularly close connections with Dionysiou Monastery. As one of its founders, he paid for the building of the tower in 1520 and the aqueduct, both of which still stand (Millet - Pargoire - Petit 1904, no. 494, p. 171. Kadas 1994, p. νε΄). He was also the spiritual son of St Nephon (d. 1508), Patriarch of Constantinople, who is especially revered in the monastery and whose church-shaped reliquary (1515), which is kept in the monastery, was the gift of Neagoe (Millet - Pargoire - Petit 1904, no. 495, p. 161). The spiritual bond between Neagoe and Nephon is illustrated in icon no. 2.38 from Dionysiou Monastery, which is displayed in the exhibition.
This portrait of the monastery's founders, Neagoe Basarab and his son Theodosios, is distinguished by its realism and was part of a trend for painting similar portraits of the rulers of Romania and Russia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Pucko 1987, pp. 54-64, figs. 5, 8, 9).