- Museum number
- Object: St Boniface and 16 Scenes from his Life
Icon; painted; St Boniface is portrayed in the centre against a gold background wearing a red robe under a green 'himation'; he raises his right hand in a gesture of benediction and holds a closed scroll in his left. Above him, in clouds, is Christ blessing with both hands. Around the saint are 16 scenes of his martyrdom. They are, clockwise from top left:
1. Aglaida presents gold to Boniface.
2. The saint departs to acquire the relics.
3. The saint kisses the feet of two martyr saints.
4. Boniface preaches to the hiegemon.
5. The saint is hung from a tree.
6. A stick is plunged into the saint's leg.
7. Molten tin is poured into the saint's mouth.
8. The hiegemon orders the saint to be tortured.
9. The saint is immersed in a cauldron of boiling tar.
10. An angel rescues the saint.
11. Boniface is beheaded.
12. His head is found by peasants.
13. The saint's head is reunited with his body.
14. An angel appears to Aglaida in her sleep.
15. The body of the saint is carried by peasants.
16. The installation of the saint's relics by Aglaida in a church.
Inscriptions: by Christ's head, in Greek IC (XC); in Christ's halo O WN (He Who Is); in each scene, either above or in the saint's halo, is his name in Church Slavonic, in some instances erased; in the centre above the saint's head in red on a gold background: СВЯТОЙ МУЧЕНИК ВОНИФАНТИЙ (St Martyr Boniphatios); around the central scene are 16 further scenes from the saint's life, all with accompanying inscriptions, clockwise from top left:
1. АГЛАИДА ДАЕТ ВОНИФАНТИЮ ЗЛАТО НА ИСКУПЛЕНИЕ МОЩЕЙ (Aglaida gives gold to Boniphatios to redeem relics).
2. ОТХОДИ BОНИФАНТИЙ КУПИТЬ ГЛАГОЛЯ АГЛАИДЕ СМЕЮЩE (Boniphatios departs to redeem the relics laughing at Aglaida).
3. ВОНИФАНТИЙ ОБЛОБЫЗАЕТ СВЯТОГО МУЧЕНИКА И ЛОБЫЗАЕТ НОГИ ИХ (Boniphatios kisses Martyr Saints and kisses their feet).
4. ВОНИФАНТИЙ НЕБОЯЗНЕННО ПЕРЕД ИГЕМОHОМ ХРИСТА ИСПОВEДУЕТ (Boniphatios preaches before the hiegemon without fear).
5. СУДИЯ ПОВЕЛЕЛ ОБНАЖЕНА ВОНИФАНТИЯ СТРЕМГЛАВ ПОВЕСИТЪ (Judge orders that the naked Boniphatios is hanged without delay).
6. СВЯТОМУ ВОНИФАНТИЮ ОСТРОЕ ТРОСТИЕ ЗА КОСТИ В РУЦЕ И НОЗЕ ВНЗИТ (A sharp stick is plunged into St Boniphatios' hand and leg).
7. РАСТОПЛЕННОЕ ОЛОВО ВЛИВАЮТ В УСТА СВЯТОМУ ВОНИФАНТИЮ (Molten tin is poured into St Boniphatios' mouth).
8. ПАКН ИГЕМОН ПРЕДСTАВИ НА ИСПЫТАНИЕ СВЯTОГО ВОНИФАНТИЯ (Thus, hiegemon sends St Boniphatios to be tortured).
9. СВЯТОЙ ВОНИФАНТИЙ В КОНОБЕ РАЗВАРЕННOЙ СMOЛЕ ВВЕРЖЕН (St Boniphatios is put in a cauldron with boiling tar).
10. AНГЕЛ ГОСПОДЕНЪ СНИДЕ ОРОСИ КОНОБЕ И ИЗЫДЕ ЗДРАВ СВЯТОЙ ВОНИФАНТИЙ (An Angel of Our Lord descends to soak the cauldron and St Boniphatios gets out unhurt).
11. УСЕЧНИЕ БІСТЬ ВО ГЛАВУ СВЯТОГО ВОНИФАНТИЯ ОТ ЯЗВ ИСТЕЧЕ МЛЕКО (Beheading of St Boniphatios. Milk exudes from his wounds).
12. РAБЫ УЗНАЮТ ТЕЛО ВОНИФАНТИЯ. ПРИЛАГАЮТ ГЛАВУ К ТРУПУ (Serfs recognize the body of Boniphatios. They put his head on his body).
13. РАБЫ ВИДЯТ СMЕЮЩЕЕСЯ СВЯТОГО МУЧЕНИКА ВОНИФАНТИЯ ГЛАВУ (Serfs see the laughing head of St Martyr Boniphatios).
14. AНГЕЛ ГОСПОДЕНЬ ЯВИЛСЯ АГЛАИДЕ ВО СНЕ И ПОВЕЛЕЛ ПРИНЯТЬ МОЩИ СВЯТОГО ВОНИФАНТИЯ (An Angel of Our Lord appears to Aglaida in a dream and commands her to accept the relics of St Boniphatios).
15. ПОЯТЬ АГЛАИДА КЛИР ЦЕРКОВНЫЙ ИЗЫДЕ ВСРЕТЕИ МОЩЕИ ВОНИФАHТЬЕBЫ (Aglaida assembles church priests. They go to see the relics of St Boniphatios).
16. УСТРОИ ЦЕРКОВЬ АГЛАИДА И ВНЕСЕ МОЩИ СВЯТОМУ МУЧЕHИКУ ВОНИФАНТИЮ (Aglaida establishes a church and puts the relics of St Martyr Boniphatios in there).
Egg tempera, gold, gesso on wood.
- Production date
Length: 356 millimetres
Weight: 1.95 kilograms
Width: 305 millimetres
Depth: 27 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- St Boniface was martyred in 290 in Tarsus where he had been sent from Rome by his wealthy mistress Aglaida to collect the relics of a number of Christian martyrs who had been killed there. The story of his life was incorporated into a ‘menologion’ – a book containing accounts of the lives and martyrdoms of saints arranged according to the ecclesiastical calendar. The icon’s composition follows the traditional iconography of ‘vita’ icons, known in both Byzantine and Russian art, which combine a central image of a saint surrounded by smaller scenes of their life and martyrdom. The Museum’s icon is a rare example of an icon devoted to St Boniface whose iconography is mainly known from late 17th–19th-century icons cherished by Old Believers. Saints Boniface and Aglaida are celebrated on 19 December.
Cormack 2007, 128, no. 64
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015 15 Sep-10 Jan, USA, Norfolk, Chrysler Museum of Art, Byzantium to Russia: The origins and development of Russian icons 1200 to 1900
2015 30 Apr- 22 Aug, USA, Clinton, Museum of Russian Icons, Byzantium to Russia: The origins and development of Russian Icons 1200 to 1900
- Made from a single panel with shallow ‘kovcheg’; two inserted battens on the reverse; scattered minor spots of damages on the frame.
- 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 65 (Icon Collection number)