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Athos Holy Mount

Portable Icons
2.91 Christ Pantokrator
17th c., 2nd half
Monastery of St Paul
Wood, egg tempera, 43.4 x 28 cm


The Original New Testament

Christ is depicted from the waist up on a gold ground, wearing a deep red tunic with a clavus and a dark blue himation. He gives a blessing with one hand and holds a closed Gospel in the other. On the arms of the cross on his halo are the Greek letters for 'I am the Being', and above his shoulders: 'The Pantokrator'. In the upper corners of the icon two red medallions with gold ornamentation and lettering contain the abbreviated forms of the name of Christ.

Christ's face is shaped with brown underpainting, pink flesh, and dense white striation around the eyes and on the brow. Very stylised furrows over arched eyebrows emphasise the severity of his expression.

This Christ type, which is known from the Palaeologan period, is continued in a number of Cretan icons (Chatzidakis 1985, pl. 94). However, a certain aridity, coupled with the stylised modelling link it more closely with seventeenth-century works (Karakatsani 1980, p. 34, fig. 23. Baltoyanni 1985, no. 119, pl. 51).

This dating (more specifically the second half of the seventeenth century) is further supported by the ornamentation of the Gospel, the geometrical vegetal decoration and alternating colours on the frame, and the ornamentation of the medallions. The two latter features are characteristics of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Athonite painting (Chatzidakis 1972 (4), p. 123. Chatzidakis 1985, no. 163), to which this icon too must be ascribed.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Index of exhibits of Monastery of St. Paul's
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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