- Museum number
- Object: St Nicholas the Wonder-Worker
Icon; painted in egg tempera on wood; St Nicholas is depicted as a bearded, half-length, figure dressed in a bishop's chasuble with 'omophorion'; he holds an opened gospel book in his left hand and blesses with his right. Inscription in Church Slavonic on the opened gospel.
- Production date
Height: 29.40 centimetres
Thickness: 2 centimetres
Width: 23.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- St Nicholas was to become one of the most venerated saints in the Orthodox world. He was purportedly bishop of Myra in Lycia in the 4th century and was accepted by the Church as one of the fathers of the Council of Nicaea in 325, where he reputedly launched a violent attack on the heretic Arius (see Ševcěnko 1983, 18–24). His cult was established in the East as early as the 6th century, but did not become widespread until the 9th century when a biography of him was supposedly published by the Patriarch Methodios I (d. 847). A further ‘vita’ by Simeon Metaphrastes in the second half of the 10th century was perhaps responsible for the spread of his cult into Russia in the 11th century. In 1087 the saint’s relics were stolen from Myra by Norman sailors and translated to Bari in Italy, where his shrine is today. From this point onward Nicholas’ cult became almost universal. Eleventh-century Russian chronicles relate that there was nowhere in Russia that you could not find a church dedicated to the saint.
For the saint’s ‘vita’, legends and iconography, see: LCI 8, cols 45–58; Ševcěnko 1983, passim. For other icons with this representation of St Nicholas, see cat. nos 22, 39, 53, 64 and 65.
Cormack 2007, 121, no. 36.
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with shallow ‘kovcheg’; one inserted batten on the reverse; the central part with the saint’s image and the surrounding ground were inserted into a new panel during the course of restoration in the late 19th or early 20th century. The remains of the original image have been completely over-painted, and there are later gesso infillings in the corners of the icon. The icon is a typical example of 19th-century restoration undertaken by an Old Believer.
- 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 36 (Icon Collection number)