Saturday, October 31, 2015

RELIGIOUS ART - Icons from the Bible, Enthroned Virgin Mary, Greece, 19th century

1

Enthroned Virgin Mary, Greece, 19th century. Wooden single panel. Double Kowtscheg. Tempera on gesso, gold plated. The Mother of God sits on a richly ornamented, gilded throne with the Christ Child on her lap. It is crowned by two angels. In the background St. Nicholas and St. Demetrius27.5 x 20.5 cm 

The theme of the Madonna and Child was rare in the first centuries of early Christian art (c. 3rd–6th century). In 431, however, the establishment of Mary’s title of Theotokos (“Mother of God”) definitively affirmed the full deity of Christ. Thereafter, to emphasize this concept, an enthroned Madonna and Child were given a prominent place in monumental church decoration. More

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in modern-day Demre, Turkey). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day―St Nicholas Day (6 December, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. In 1087, part of his relics (about half of his bones) were furtively transported to Bari, in Apulia, Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. The remaining bones were taken to Venice in 1100.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe. More

Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki  is a Christian martyr of the early 4th century AD. During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George.  In the Roman Catholic church he is most commonly called "Demetrius of Sermium." 

The earliest written accounts of his life were compiled in the 9th century, although there are earlier images of him, and the 7th-century Miracles of Saint Demetrius collection. According to these early accounts, Demetrius was born to pious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, Illyricum in 270. The biographies have Demetrius as a young man of senatorial family who was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of Diocletian and Galerian.

St. Demetrius was initially depicted in icons and mosaics as a young man in patterned robes with the distinctive tablion of the senatorial class across his chest. Miraculous military interventions were attributed to him during several attacks on Thessaloniki, and he gradually became thought of as a soldier: a Constantinopolitan ivory of the late 10th century shows him as an infantry soldier (Metropolitan Museum of Art). But an icon of the late 11th century in Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai shows him as before, still a civilian. More

RELIGIOUS ART - Icons from the Bible, An icon painted in two registers. Greece, 1744

1


An icon painted in two registers. Greece, 1744 Heavy Softwood single panel. Egg tempera on gesso (gypsum), Konturritzungen, partially gilded. In the upper frame a full figure enthroned Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. The underlying three selected saints: St. Athanasius, St. Nicholas and St. Charalampi.... The upper frame is dated '1744' '. Loss of substance in the edge region. 36.4 x 26.6 cm .

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. Athanasius is a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

Conflict with successive Roman emperors shaped Athanasius's career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as his bishop's assistant during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father. Three years after that council, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria. In addition to the conflict with the Arians (including powerful and influential Arian churchmen led by Eusebius of Nicomedia), he struggled against the Emperors Constantine, Constantius II, Julian the Apostate and Valens. He was known as "Athanasius Contra Mundum" (Latin for Athanasius Against the World). More

Arianism is a nontrinitarian belief which asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but is entirely distinct from and subordinate to God the Father. Arianism is defined as those teachings attributed to Arius, which are in opposition to current mainstream Christian teachings on the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. It was first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from—God the Father. This belief is grounded in the Gospel of John (14:28) passage: "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." More

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in modern-day Demre, Turkey). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day―St Nicholas Day (6 December, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. In 1087, part of his relics (about half of his bones) were furtively transported to Bari, in Apulia, Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. The remaining bones were taken to Venice in 1100.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe. More

Saint Charalambos was an early Christian bishop in Magnesia, a region of Asia Minor. He lived during the reign of Septimius Severus (193-211), when Lucian was Proconsul of Magnesia. It is believed that at the time of his martyrdom in 202, Charalambos was 113 years old.

Charalambos spread the Gospel in that region for many years. However, when news of his preaching reached the authorities of the area, the proconsul Lucian and military commander Lucius, the saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols.

Despite his advanced age, he was tortured mercilessly. They lacerated his body with iron hooks, and scraped all the skin from his body. The saint had only one thing to say to his tormentors: "Thank you, my brethren, for scraping off the old body and renewing my soul for new and eternal life."

More tortures, the legend says, were wrought upon the saint after he was brought to Septimius Severus himself. Condemned to death and led to the place of execution, Charalambos prayed that God grant that the place where his relics would repose would never suffer famine or disease. After praying this, the saint gave up his soul to God even before the executioner had laid his sword to his neck. Tradition says that Severus' daughter Gallina[4] was so moved by his death, that she was converted and buried Charalambos herself. More

RELIGIOUS ART - Icons from the Bible, Lady Achtyrskaja (of Akhtyrka), Veneto-Cretan, 17th century

1

Lady Achtyrskaja (of Akhtyrka), Veneto-Cretan, 17th century. Hardwood single panel, back tiling. Tempera on chalk ground, background gilded, Nimbus hallmarked ornamental. Image-filling representation of the seated Virgin in three-quarter figure,  holding the crucifix with the crucified Christ in her hands. About her green tunic she wears the red maphorion which is contoured by white and black shades.  a western-style transparent head-cover complimented by the traditional maphorion. The halo is finely tooled. 29.5 x 25.5 cm 

Okhtyrka, also known by its Russian variant Akhtyrka, is a small city in Ukraine, a town of Hussar and Cossack Fame. It was also once a regional seat of Sloboda Ukraine and the Ukrainian SSR. It is home to historical and religious places of interest. More

In the town of Akhtyrka, there had long been a parish dedicated to the Protection of the Most-pure Theotokos (The Virgin Mary). In 1739, Fr. Daniel Vasiliev was serving at that church. Once, as he was mowing the grass in his garden he saw an icon of the Mother of God praying before the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, and shining with an indescribable light. In awe, Fr. Daniel carried it into his house. Three years later, while dozing, he dreamt of the Mother of God, and heard her direct that he wash the icon with clean water, and then drape a cover over the icon. The priest did as he was told, intending to later pour the water into the river, he put the water into a container. He again fell asleep, whereby the Most-holy Theotokos said to him: “Keep this water; it will heal all those who suffer from the fever.” The priest had a daughter who suffered with fever. Awaking, he gave her some of the water to drink, and she immediately was healed. 


Thereafter, all those who suffered with fever would run to the Most-holy Theotokos, and as soon as they drank of the water from her icon, would be healed. Recognizing the miraculous signs coming from the icon, the priest took it to his parish church. There the icon shone forth with the power of working miracles. 

One noteworthy miracle was to Elizabeth, the ill wife of General Vedel, who came and fervently prayed before the icon that she might be healed. The next night she saw the Mother of God in a dream, and heard her direction: “You ask in vain for healing from illness. You do not need that. You will soon depart from life. Give all of your possessions to the churches and to the poor. That sacrifice will be for the good of your soul.” The ill one answered, “O Mother of God, I have children, and if I give away my estate, my children will be left in extreme poverty and need.” In response, the Mother of God said, “Do not be concerned for your children. I will be their eternal protectress.” Then, the Mother of God became invisible. Elizabeth, five days later, as told to her by the Mother of God, peacefully reposed. Empress Catherine II, learning of the miraculous protection promised to the children of the late Mrs. Vedel, took her two daughters into her care, and later gave them in marriage, one to Count Palen, the other to Count Chernishev. This miraculous icon used to be in the cathedral church of the town of Akhtyrka, Kharkov province. More

RELIGIOUS ART - Icons from the Bible, Madre della Consolazione, Veneto-Cretan, 17th century. Mother of Consolation

1

Madre della Consolazione, Veneto-Cretan, 17th centuryMother of Consolation Veneto-Cretan, wooden single panel. Tempera on chalk ground, background gilded. Image-filling representation of the half-length Mother of God; depicted half-length wearing a blue tunic and a brown maphorion.. She holds the Christ Child in her left arm. He has raised his right hand in blessing and holds with his left the globe. His himation is decorated with a gold-Chrysographie. Next to them, the Saint Catherine appears. , Embossed haloes. Color losses. 16.5 x 23 cm 

The earliest story tells of Saint Monica in the fourth century, distraught with grief and anxiety for her wayward son, Augustine, confiding her distress to the Mother of God, who appeared to her dressed in mourning clothes, but wearing a shining cincture around her waist. As a pledge of her support and compassion, Our Lady removed the cincture and, giving it to Monica, directed her to wear it and to encourage others to do the same. Monica gave it to her son, who in turn gave it to his community, and so the Augustinian devotion to the wearing of a cincture as a token of fidelity to our Mother of Consolation came into being.

The tradition of praying to the Mother of God for the gift of consolation dates back to the early centuries. The first written evidence of prayer to the Mother of God, Mary, the Theotokos ("Birth-Giver of God" )is written in Greek on a scrap of Egyptian papyrus dating from between 300-540. In that prayer, she is invoked as the compassionate one More

Saint Monica (AD 331 – 387), also known as Monica of Hippo, was an early Christian saint and the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. She is remembered and honored in most Christian denominations for her outstanding Christian virtues, particularly the suffering caused by her husband's adultery, and her prayerful life dedicated to the reformation of her son, who wrote extensively of her pious acts and life with her in his Confessions. Popular Christian legends recall Saint Monica weeping every night for her son Augustine.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and converted hundreds of people to Christianity. She was martyred around the age of 18. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her. More

Cretan School describes an important school of icon painting, which flourished while Crete was under Venetian rule during the late Middle Ages, reaching its climax after the Fall of Constantinople, becoming the central force in Greek painting during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The Cretan artists developed a particular style of painting under the influence of both Eastern and Western artistic traditions and movements; the most famous product of the school, El Greco, was the most successful of the many artists who tried to build a career in Western Europe, and also the one who left the Byzantine style farthest behind him in his later career. More