- Museum number
- Object: The Miracle of the Apparition of the Archangel Michael to Joshua and Archippos
Icon; painted; the Archangel Michael, with golden wings and wearing military costume, stands in the centre before the walls of Jericho; he holds a sword in his right hand and a sheath in his left. At bottom left is the kneeling figure of Joshua. Above him is the miracle at Chonai, with the Archangel Michael and the sexton Archippos. On the right is a procession of priests, followed by trumpeters, bearing the Ark. Above Michael on the upper border is Christ Emmanuel enclosed by clouds. The revetment is decorated with a running vine with berry bunches; Michael's, Christ's, Joshua's and Archippos' haloes are decorated with filigree scrolls.
Inscriptions: in Church Slavonic on two silver plates besides the Archangel: left: АРХАНГЕЛ (Archangel); right: МИХАИЛ (Michael); by the head of the monk above Joshua: АРХИП (Archippos); in Greek besides Christ Emmanuel on the upper border: ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ); on Christ's halo: OHH (for OWN: He Who Is).
Egg tempera and gold, gesso on wood, silver-gilt revetment.
- Production date
Height: 318 millimetres
Weight: 1493 grammes
Width: 282 millimetres
Depth: 35 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The icon glorifies the deeds of the Archangel Michael. Depictions of his acts were common in Byzantine art, especially on murals. The earliest cycle dedicated to his deeds in Russian art is depicted on the southern gates of the cathedral in Suzdal (late 12th century) and on a late 14th-century icon of ‘the Archangel Michael and his Acts’ in the Archangel cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin (Smirnova 1988, 272).
The icon combines the three main episodes of the Acts of the Archangel Michael, described both in the Book of Joshua and in texts on the miracles of the Archangel. The Apparition of the Archangel Michael to Joshua, the son of Nun, who takes off his shoe is based on the words: ‘And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so’(Joshua V:13–15). The next chapter describes the fall of the walls of Jericho: ‘And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat…’ (Joshua VI:4–5). Both these scenes were popular on Moscow icons and were inspired by the Byzantine tradition.
The third episode of the Miracle at Chonai was more typically found on Northern and Novgorod icons. The scene is depicted on a famous Novgorod icon dating from the 15th–16th century in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg (Laurina 1977, no. 19). The composition of the Museum’s icon follows the traditional iconography. The scene is depicted in a rocky landscape and shows the attempts by the devil and unbelievers to destroy an oratory dedicated to St Michael at Chonai near Hierapolis in Phrygia. They dam a river in order to flood the oratory, but the Archangel appears in time to divert the waters thanks to the prayers of a hermit named Archippos. The miracle is celebrated on 6 September.
Cormack 2007, 122, no. 38
- 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 two inserted battens on the reverse; the icon is coated with a darkened yellowish varnish (‘olifa’). On the reverse is a damaged silk cloth backing (a so-called ‘shirt’).
- Associated events
Associated Event: Siege of Jericho
Associated Event: Miracle at Chonai
- 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 38 (Icon Collection number)