Biblical references to Philip are minimal (John 1:43-51, Acts 8:26-40) and laconic. Icons of him are rare, other than those found on the series of the Twelve Apostles on the Deesis row of an iconostasis. Our icon corresponds to the tradition, which varies little, where he is shown as a youthful preacher dressed as a philosopher of antiquity in a green chiton and red himation, a gold clavus (signifying rank) on his shoulder. An early example, dating from the tenth century is in St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai (Fig. 1).
If we exclude Domenicos Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco, who abandoned the Byzantine Cretan style altogether, the most famous Cretan painter of the 17th century is Michael Damaskinos (1530-1593) (Fig. 2). Our painter is his contemporary and to some degree, in the vivid contrasts of strong colour and the treatment of drapery folds and light reflexes, his follower. His work is highly skilled and confident.