Eastern Europe, Russia
Post-Byzantine, Russian, Rus', Orthodox Russian, Orthodox
Tempera on wood
12 1/2 × 10 1/2 × 1 3/16 in. (31.75 × 26.67 × 3.02 cm)
34.85 oz. (988 g)
Bequest of David P. Harris ('46), 2020
Purchased by David P. Harris from Chris Martin-Zakheim (Iconastas) in London on October 25, 2005.
The raised wood frame is chipped and scarred in multiple places, especially at the upper and lower edges. The paint, especially in the lower half nearest to the wooden frame, has peeled off, revealing the mesh under layer. This damage resembles that which might be caused by fire. More recent damage to the paint is visible along the vertical axis in the middle of the panel, in the space between the two figures. Here we find “holes” where paint has flaked off. Five holes reveal the underdrawing. There are some places where the paint is peeling away from the surface, though still intact. This flaking is likely caused by the wood panel that has warped. The supportive wood braces that would reduce this warping are no longer extant. September 2022. Edward Moreta ('23)
Brad Hostetler, with Ani Parnagian, "From Private to Public: The Collection of David P. Harris," in Ethiopian Objects in the Blick-Harris Study Collection: Art, Context, and the Persistence of Form, eds. Brad Hostetler, and Lynn Jones, Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture 8, no. 1 (Spring 2022): 5–25. https://digital.kenyon.edu/perejournal/vol8/iss1/1/
Tempera on one wood panel, this rectangular icon features a raised lip around the perimeter, a wide white-painted frame that has now aged into a yellow, and the painted image within a recessed area at the center. Yellow and brown tones dominate this icon.
In terms of composition, this one panel can be described like a triptych. The three major elements in the painting each get their own section: the left is dominated by Saint Procopius, the middle by the icon of Christ, and the right by Saint John of Ustyug. All three figures have a light cream halo and have been painted a brown pigment. The two saints stand in front of a yellow background on a dark brown ground.
Saint Procopius and Saint John are known as “Fools for Christ” because of their ascetic lifestyles in devotion to Christ. Procopius (left) wears boots while John (right) is barefoot. Procopius wears a red toga, layered with a long sleeved dark undershirt. Procopius has short hair and a beard. He holds his right hand up, venerating the image of Christ, while his left hand is out but more at his side. John wears a long toga but his is a lighter yellow. Due to his short cropped hair and lack of facial hair, John appears younger than Procopius. Both of John’s hands are held up, venerating the image of Christ.
This image of Christ, represented here as a face on a piece of cloth, is known as the Mandylion. He is shown with a long brown beard and brown hair and he looks directly into the eye of the beholder.
The viewer is able to perceive how heavily this icon has been used because of the frame’s cracking and peeling of the paint which has revealed the underdrawing in multiple places. There are also suggestions of fire and smoke damage because of the black spots in the image and loss of paint at the lower end of the frame.
Edward Moreta ('23) for ARHS 291 Museum Object (Fall 2022).