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Athos Holy Mount

Portable Icons
2.66 The Holy Women at the Sepulchre
Stavronikita Monastery
Wood, egg tempera, 53 x 38 cm
Cretan School. Theophanis the Cretan


The Original New Testament

Dressed in white, in accordance with the Gospel passage (Matt. 28:3), the angel sits on the heavy stone that had sealed the tomb of Christ and points to the sarcophagus in the rock, in which lie the grave-clothes and the sudarium. On the left are two women, who have come to the tomb carrying vessels of myrrh, and now, alarmed at the sight of the angel, stand pressing close to each other. Two rocky hills in the background frame the angel and the myrrh-bearers. At the entrance to the tomb is the inscription: 'The Holy Sepulchre'; and below the red arched upper border, we read: 'See the place where the Lord lay.'

In the Stavronikita icon, Theophanis adopts a spare iconographical format, which in this specific type first took shape in the Palaeologan period (Millet 1910, pl. 121.3. Millet 1916, fig. 576. Pelekanidis - Chatzidakis 1984, p. 101, fig. 15). He also used it in the katholikon of Anapafsas Monastery (1527), and used the same basic iconographical and typological elements in his representations of the same subject in the katholika of the Great Lavra (1535) and Stavronikita (Millet 1927, pl. 127.2. Chatzidakis 1986 (1), fig. 101).

Bibliography: Chatzidakis 1969-70, fig. 78. Patrinelis - Karakatsani - Theochari 1974, p. 86, fig. 24. Dodekaorton, no. 10.

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