Icon with St Athanasios and St Demetrios
Greece, late 18th century
H. 24cm; W. 95cm
Given by Ella Wentworth Dyne Steel in 1998.
Reg. no. BEP 1998,1105.9
The icon is painted in egg tempera with gold leaf on wood primed with gesso over cloth. It must have been originally part of a triptych. The half-length saint at the top is identified in Greek red script as St Athanasios. He wears a red omophorion and holds a Gospel book in his left hand (protected from his touch by his garment) while he holds his right hand up in a gesture of blessing. Below, St Demetrios, also identified by a red inscription, is mounted on a red horse. He wears a cuirass and billowing cloak, and plunges his lance into a figure below. The back is unpainted, and has a blue Temple Gallery label dating it to 9th to 17th century.
This icon is attributed here to the late 18th century, as has the following icon, cat, no. 26. Further research is needed to decide whether cat. nos 25 and 26 might originally have belonged together as wings of the same triptych. The ground of this wing is in gold, whereas the ground of cat. no. 26 is unusually (now) blue.
Literature: R. Cormack, Icons, London, 2007 (repr. 2014), 134, no. 87.
Robin Cormack and Maria Vassilaki