- Museum number
- Object: The Transfiguration of Christ (‘Preobrazhenie’)
Icon; painted; Christ, dressed in a white 'himation' and enclosed in a reddish mandorla, stands on the peak of Mount Tabor with his right arm raised in a gesture of benediction. On rocks to either side of him stand the prophets Elijah and Moses. At the foot of the mountain the disciples Peter, John and James abase themselves at the sight of Christ's theophany.
Inscriptions: in Church Slavonic above Christ: ПРЕОБРАЖЕНИЕ ГОСПОДНЕ (Transfiguration of Our Lord); above the heads of the prophets flanking Christ: ПРОРОК ИЛИЯ (Prophet Elijah), ПРОРОК МОИСЕИ (Prophet Moses); in Greek flanking Christ: ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ); on Christ's halo: O WN (He Who Is); above the heads of the disciples are incomplete inscriptions in Church Slavonic.
Egg tempera, gesso on wood.
- Production date
Height: 9.90 centimetres
Thickness: 1.50 centimetres
Width: 8.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The Transfiguration is one of the Twelve Great Feasts (‘dodekaorton’) of the Orthodox calendar and its iconography is based on various New Testament sources including Matthew 17:1–13, Mark 9:2–13 and Luke 11:28–36. One of the earliest depictions of it can be seen on the mid-6th-century apse mosaic in St Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai, and in symbolic form on the apse of San Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna, Italy. Its iconography was fully established by the 10th and 11th centuries and it was subsequently adopted in Russian icon painting with little deviation from the established format. Christ’s mandorla, in the form of a circle with two crossed red squares, is a late post-Byzantine tradition.
See also cat. no. 56 for another icon with this iconography.
Cormack 2007, 121, no. 35
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; the icon was probably part of a portable triptych which was later mounted onto a new panel. On the mandorla to Christ’s right is an area of cracked gesso; the red colour on the borders and part of the painting near the lower border represent later restoration.
- 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 35 (Icon Collection number)