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Athos Holy Mount

Byzantine Minor Arts
9.22 Revetment of an icon with St Demetrios
15th c.
Dionysiou Monastery
Silver gilt with repoussι work
in high and low relief, 29 x 24 cm


The Original New Testament

The revetment covers both the rectangular frame of this icon of St Demetrios and the background, where however there are signs of later repair work in the lower half. The decoration of the frame consists of square panels with busts of saints alternating with rectangular ones with ornamental bosses and a carpeting of sinuous tendrils. The whole is an analytical presentation of the Great Deesis, with Christ, the Virgin and John the Baptist in the three panels along the top; the square panels around the other three sides display busts of apostles and saints, with the exception of the central compartment on the bottom, which contains two full-length figures of saints. This arrangement is very common in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century icon revetments (Grabar 1975, nos. 18, 25, 30). The icon revetment of 1425 in Venice (Grabar 1975, no. 30) is very similar in both style and iconography to the Dionysiou frame revetment, which confirms its early fifteenth-century dating. In addition, the upper part of the ground of this icon is paved with intricate flora scrolls resembling both the icon revetment of St John in the Monastery of Chelandari and the ornamentation of the cross of the Empress Helena Palaeologina in the Monastery of Dionysiou (no. 9.23), both fifteenth-century works. The two halves of the inscription 'St. Demetrios the Myrrhobletis', which occupy two plaquettes in the flora carpeting, are reversed, probably owing to an error in the preparation of the mould.

Bibliography: Kondakov 1902, fig. 76. Kadas 1979, p. 66.

K. L-T.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Dionysiou
15th 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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