London, South Kensington
14 June 2006
ARCHANGEL MICHAEL AND THE NARRATIVE OF THE BUILDING OF THE CHAPEL AT CHONAE
RUSSIAN, 19TH CENTURY
Archangel Michael in the centre raises his fiery sword and carries a banner with cruciform finial, indicating that he acts in Christ's name. The latter appears amidst the clouds above and blesses the Archangel.The surrounding scenes and the corresponding inscriptions on the border (clockwise, starting from the upper left corner) narrate the building of the chapel at Chonae in Phrygia, in the fourth century, dedicated to Archangel Michael. The chapel was commissioned by a man, whose mute daughter was cured by the water of a source at Chonae, where subsequently the chapel was built and was frequently threatened by the pagans. Once, when Archippos was serving as a monk, the pagans diverted the source of the river in order to destroy the chapel, but the archangel appeared and prevented the catastrophe. This was the most famous of the miracles performed by Archangel Michael, and the one which is commonly encountered on icons that commemorate the event which is celebrated by the Orthodox Church on 6 September. However, the detailed narrative of the Building of the Chapel presented on this icon, may have not been simply produced to the commemorate the event; instead, it could have been made for a Church dedicated to the Miracle. In Russia, there is one church named after the 'Miracle of Michael Archangel' in Choudov (of Miracle) Monastery in the Kremlin. The icon is encased in an elaborate, wooden, carved, gilded and glazed kyot.
As presented in the kyot: 23 x 19 in. (58.3 x 48.2 cm);
The panel: 13¼ x 11 5/8 in. (33.6 x 29.5 cm)
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