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    Sale 7542

    Icons and Artefacts from the Orthodox World

    26 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 103



    Price Realised  


    The panel divided into two sections, the upper one showing the apostles Peter and Paul with prominent haloes inscribed with their names in Latin, holding a scroll and a book respectively, both of them pointing with their right indexes to the semi-circular segment at the top, the latter containing Christ, wearing a cruciform halo, his hands extended in blessing, the lower zone showing at the sides two male figures dressed in ecclesiastical vestments, towards the apostles above in supplication, in the centre under a faded arch a third person bowing in front of a Roman Catholic Bishop, the latter raising his hand in benediction, the faces rendered naturalistically, the dark colours of the garments contrasting with the gold background, set in a later frame with applied carved and gilded foliate scrolls
    35 x 27 in. (88.9 x 68.6 cm)

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    The represented subject does not derive from the canonical Orthodox iconography. There is one known icon with a similar composition in the Treasury of the Vatican. The latter, dating to the late 13th century, was the gift of the Serbian Queen Helena of Anjou to Pope Nicholas IV. Like this lot, it shows the apostles Peter and Paul (in blessing rather than pointing to Christ) and at the lower part Helena of Anjou bending in front of a Roman Catholic Bishop, flanked by her sons Milutin and Dragutin, all dressed in imperial garments of Byzantine style. However, the figures on this lot are not regally dressed, the bowing person is a man, and the apostles' names are inscribed in Latin contrary to the Cyrillic inscriptions that appear on the Vatican panel. Assuming that Helena of Anjou commissioned the Vatican panel in order to demonstrate her worship of Roman Catholicism, one might suggest that the original composition was adapted on this lot, to another patron's need to express similar feelings.
    The icon of Helena of Anjou is published in the catalogue of the exhibition Byzantium. Faith and Power, (New York, 2004), no.23

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