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ST. GEORGE WITH DEISIS, SAINTS, AND MARTYRS

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ST. GEORGE WITH DEISIS, SAINTS, AND MARTYRS

Made by: Unknown

On view in: Icon Room


About this object

The Great Martyr St. George the Victorious is pictured at the center of this large church icon. Surrounding the central figure is a wide border on which the bust-size figures of selected saints are painted. Above St. George appears the Deesis – Christ with the Mother of God and John the Baptist – flanked by the Archangels Gabriel and Michael. To either side stand three pairs of saints: Nicholas and Elijah, Peter and Paul, and Anthony the Great and a monastic. Along the lower border are seven martyr saints, each of whom holds the eight-point cross that symbolizes their martyrdom. The iconography of St. George slaying the dragon was particularly popular in the city of Novgorod, as was the commissioning of icons with selected saints. In doing so, the client was able to specify an array of saints who were of special significance to himself and his family.

At the center of this large icon St. George the Victorious sits astride a white charger. With his right arm he plunges a spear through the mouth of the dragon trampled beneath the horse's hooves. He wears chain-mail armor picked out in gold and a red cloak billows behind him. In the upper right corner a star-spangled mandorla indicates the presence of Christ, while a rocky outcrop is visible in the background to the left. Framing this square central image is a register of half-length figures. Above St. George is the Deisis with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael. To either side stand three pairs of saints: St. Nicholas and Prophet Elijah, Peter and Paul, Anthony the Great and a monastic saint (Sergii Radonezhsky or Kirill Belozersky?), while the bottom border represents (L-R) seven martyr saints holding eight-pointed crosses: SS. John the Warrior, Irina, Mina, Anastasia, George ?, Paraskeva and Dmitrii. Only fragments of the original cinnebar inscriptions remain, they and the filenka having been repainted in a duller red. The original gold leaf ground has been worn down to the white gesso layer and there are substantial areas of repainting, particularly in the red cloak, the horse, the saints' garments, and the ground. A pattern of holes around the outer edge and the figure in the center of the icon indicates that the icon once had a metal oklad. The back of the icon has been cradled.

Category:
paintings
Object name:
ST. GEORGE WITH DEISIS, SAINTS, AND MARTYRS
Made from:
Tempera on wood
Made in:
RUSSIA
Date made:
16th c.
Size:
71.8 × 55.9 cm (28 1/4 × 22 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
54.1
Class:
ICON
Signature marks:
INSCRIPTION Above the saint's head: "STYI OBRAZ GEORGII POBE"; elsewhere fragments still visible ("IRINA", "S. MU DIM", etc.)
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
Featured in publication:
"A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum","The Art of the Russian North","Hillwood Museum & Gardens: Marjorie Merriweather Post's Art Collector's Personal Museum","Russian Icons at Hillwood"