Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Athos Holy Mount

Portable Icons
2.93 St Nicholas
Late 17th c.
St Paul's Monastery
Wood, egg tempera, 62.5 x 39.5 cm


The Original New Testament

St Nicholas is portrayed from the waist up on a gold background. He wears a reddish phelonion with highly stylised geometrical folds, and a greyish-blue omophorion with gold and red crosses. One hand is raised in blessing, the other holds a closed Gospel. His face is modelled with dark underpainting and light brown areas of flesh, and highly stylised wrinkles emphasise the individual volumes. His halo is decorated with dense dotted ornaments, a typical feature of many Athonite icons of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Chatzidakis 1972 (4), p. 123).

Above the saint's shoulders, on a smaller scale, Christ and the Virgin Mary offer him the insignia of his prelatical rank, the Gospel and the omophorion. This motif is frequently seen on icons of St Nicholas from the Byzantine period and has to do with a dream the saint had while in prison, after he had been dethroned by Constantine the Great during the First Ecumenical Council (Chatzidakis 1985, no. 1). The representation is placed within a well-carved wooden frame, formed by two spiral columns supporting an arch.

This iconographical type of St Nicholas is seen in many Cretan icons (Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art 1986, nos. 122-3). In the St Paul's icon the hieratical austerity of the figure is preserved, but the style is more anticlassical. This, together with the extreme stylisation, the dry modelling, and the decoration of the crosses on the omophorion, places it among the Athonite works of the late seventeenth century.

Bibliography: Unpublished.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

Learned Freeware


Reference address :