- Museum number
- Object: Christ ‘Pantocrator’ Smolensky, surrounded by various Saints
Icon; painted; Christ, dressed in a red chiton and dark green 'himation', stands in the centre blessing with his right hand and holding an opened gospel in his left. He is flanked by two groups of adoring saints: at left: an unknown female nun and the martyr Catherine of Alexandria (upper row), Bishop Tikhon and John Chrysostom (lower row); at right: two unknown monks (upper row) and the monk saints Zosima and Savvatii (lower row).
Inscriptions: in Greek beside Christ's halo: ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ); in Church Slavonic above his shoulders: ГОСПОДЬ ВСЕДЕРЖИТЕЛЬ (Our Lord Almighty); by the saints' heads: at left: ВЕЛИКОМУЧЕНИЦА ЕКАТЕРИНА (Great Martyr Catherina), ТИХОН (Tikhonos), ИОАНН ЗЛАТОУСТ (John Chrysostom); at right: ЗОСИМА (Zosima), САВВАТИЙ (Savvatii); the text on the opened gospel book is unclear.
Egg tempera, gesso on wood.
- Production date
Height: 31.50 centimetres
Thickness: 2.80 centimetres
Width: 26.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Catherine of Alexandria was a young virgin of imperial lineage who was martyred during the reign of Maxentius (306–12). She was first tortured on a wheel, but after it broke she was beheaded. Her cult appears to have begun in the 10th century at the monastery of St Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai where her body was supposed to have been transported by angels after her death. There were two bishop saints named Tikhon who were venerated by the Russian Orthodox Church: Tikhon, bishop of Amaphunta in Cyprus (d. 425) and Tikhon, archibishop of Voronezh (1724–83). The monk saints Zosima (d. 1478) and Savvati (d. 1435) (cf. cat. no. 33) were the founders of the Solovetski monastery on the shores of the White Sea and were among the most widely venerated saints in northern Russia.
This depiction of a full-length Christ, called in Russia ‘Smolensky’ after the city of Smolensk where it was glorified, was ultimately derived from the Byzantine type known as Christ ‘Pantocrator’ (Almighty). Usually he is flanked by the kneeling figures of saints, but this version shows him among selected saints who would have been the personal protectors of the person who commissioned the icon.
Cormack 2007, 128, no. 61
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with two inserted battens on the reverse; the paint layer is slightly worn on the background and along the edges.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See 1998,0605.1 Most of the items catalogued under 1998,0605 were acquired by Sir Frank Roberts’ wife, Cella.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 62 (Icon Collection number)