- Museum number
- Object: St Basil, from triptych with Christ, St Basil the Great (?) and St Blaise (?)
Icon; painted; this, the left-hand panel of the triptych, depicts a bearded saint, wearing an 'omophorion', and holding a book in his right hand and raising his left in blessing.
Egg tempera on wood.
- Production date
Height: 7.50 centimetres
Thickness: 3 centimetres
Width: 6 centimetres
- Curator's comments
This composition seems to mirror that of a typical Deesis, a composition traditionally found on the ‘templon’ or ‘iconastasis’ and consisting of Christ in the centre flanked by the interceding figures of John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. It may be that no figures of the two latter figures were available when this triptych was constructed and that the two doctor saints, tentatively identified here as Sts Basil and Blaise were substituted instead.
Blaise was believed to have been bishop of Sebaste in Armenia and to have suffered martyrdom during the reign of Licinius (308–24). He was supposed to have been torn with wool-combs and then beheaded. This association with wool-combs meant that he was regarded as the patron saint of wool-combers and his cult became especially popular in Russia for his protection of cattle. In northern Europe he is known as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – a group of saints who were particularly esteemed in the 15th century for their efficacy in dealing with diseases and offering comfort to the dying. His feast day is on 3 February.
For the iconography of these two saints in general see: LCI, cols 337–41 and 416–19.
Cormack 2007, 135–6, nos 91–3
This small icon is framed with two others, 1998,1105.13 and 1998,1105.14.
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; the paint layer on the background is very worn and the image is heavily restored.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 93 (Icon Collection number)