- Museum number
- Object: St Paraskeva Pyatnitsa
Icon; painted with egg tempera on wood; St Paraskeva is portrayed full-length wearing a red mantle and green robe against a green background. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel fly above her holding a crown of martyrdom. She holds a white cross in her right hand and an open scroll in her left hand, which is inscribed with part of the Nicene Creed. Cyrillic inscriptions identify the figures.
- Production date
Height: 45.20 centimetres
Weight: 1.75 kilograms
Width: 36.60 centimetres
Depth: 2 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The cult of Paraskeva (Friday in Greek) unified in the Byzantine-Slavonic world the worship of four female eponymous martyr saints: a Paraskeva of Rome, who lived in the 2nd century and whose feast day was celebrated on 26 July; a Paraskeva of Iconia who lived in the 4th century and whose feast was on 28 October; a third of uncertain origin whose feast was on 20 March; and finally, an 11th-century Balkan saint whose feast was on 14 July. Her ‘vitae’ in Russia conflated the lives of both Paraskeva of Rome and of Iconia. In the Balkans Paraskeva was known as Petka or Pyatnitsa (‘Friday’ in Slavonic) and this name was adopted for her cult in medieval Rus and it is under this name that the Russian Orthodox church celebrates her feast on 28 October.
The name Paraskeva has associations with the Friday of the Passion and she subsequently became venerated each Friday of the week. Because Friday was also market day she was seen as the patron saint of trade. In the Russian folk tradition her cult was associated with the festival Pokrov (the Protection of the Virgin), also celebrated in October, and as an autumn female saint she was a patron of weddings, female crafts and the home (see: Smirnova, Laurina and Gordienko 1982, 238).
Personal depictions of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa appeared in Russian art, mainly in Novgorod and Pskov, around the 13th century, probably earlier. Her iconography with a cross and scroll is known by the 15th–16th centuries. On some 16th–17th-century icons she is portrayed crowned by angels as on her ‘vita’ icon (first half of the 16th century) in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum (see Abel, Bobrov and Moore, 2004, pls 53 and 58).
For the iconography of the saint see: LCI 8, cols 118–20.
Cormack 2007, 133, no. 83
- 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 ‘kovcheg’; the back of the panel is concave due to shrinkage and there are some losses of paint along cracks in the wood on the upper and lower borders.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 85 (Icon Collection number)