Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy

Constantinople, 1400

Icon painted with egg tempera with gold leaf on a wood panel surfaced with gesso and linen.

H. 390.00mm. W. 310.00mm


The back is mostly bare wood, with two horizontal battens. The subject of the icon is the Triumph of Orthodoxy (the restoration of images in Byzantium in 843 after decades of an official ban on icons, the so-called period of iconoclasm from c. 730). In the centre of the upper register is the icon of the Hodegetria icon (kept in the Hodegon Monastery in Constantinople), which iconophiles believed was painted by the Evangelist St Luke, and whose production was used as a key argument in favour of the legitimacy of icons of the saints. The icon is on a stand, with red curtains, and on each side stand two guardians, wearing red hats and with wings. On the left is Empress Theodora, mother and regent of the infant Michael III (three years old in 843). On the right is the Patriarch Methodios and three other iconophiles. In the register below, from left to right: St Theodosia, holding an icon of Christ (1); St Ioannikios (4); St Stephanos the Younger (5); St Theodore the Studite (6), who between them hold an icon of Christ; St Theodore (7) and St Theophanes (8), known as the Graptoi; St Theophylaktos (10); and St Arsakios (11).

The icon is in generally good condition, but the inscriptions in red are abraded, so that only a few letters of the title are discernible, essentially on the right hand side. Several of the saints’ names are worn.

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The Byzantine Legacy
Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016