Eastern Europe, Russia
Post-Byzantine, Russian, Orthodox
Wood base, egg tempera, silver and gilded silver metal revetment attached by nails
11 7/16 × 9 8/16 × 1 13/16 in. (28.6 × 24.2 × 4.5 cm)
Bequest of David P. Harris ('46), 2020
Purchased by David P. Harris from the Bowater Gallery in London in 1968.
The wood panel has a chunk taken out at the lower edge, but is only noticeable when turned. Some of the small flake decorations appear to have fallen off. The metal revetments are in adequate condition with no damages. September 2022. - Drew Grier ('23)
This painted icon of Saint Nicholas is adorned with a revetment of silver and gilded silver flakes. These flakes are arranged in, and contain engravings of, repeated patterns throughout the front surface. They are structured around the image of Saint Nicholas, making the icon look like a book cover. Each figure is also embellished with a raised metal halo that wraps the head from shoulder to shoulder. The metal halos are engraved with a repeating floral pattern.
Saint Nicholas is depicted from the waist up, with a blessing gesture formed by his right hand, and a Gospel book held in his left. He is adorned in a red phelonion (the cloak worn by all clergy in the Eastern Orthodox faith) wrapped in a dark green omophorion (a stole, or scarf, that is only worn by bishops) decorated by two large crosses on each shoulder. He has a plain yet somewhat inviting face receiving the prayers of loyal Christians.
He is flanked at his right shoulder by a bust image of Christ who gestures to him with a book in his hand indicating Saint Nicholas’ role as a teacher. On the other side, the Virgin Mary offers an omophorion, which is an indication of his role as a bishop in the church.
Drew Grier ('23) for ARHS 291 Museum Object (Fall 2022).