The

Temple Gallery

Established 1959

 
 

BZ17. Saint Artemios of Egypt
Greek, 16th century
Tempera and Gold on gesso on wood
Panel: 15.8 x 12.8 x 1 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial
Inscription: Ο ΑΓ[IOS] ΑΡΤΕΜΙΟC (The Saint Artemios)
Condition: good condition, one old split restored
Provenance: German art market
Feast: 20th of October
£8,800 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

 


Artemios is depicted half-length in Byzantine military garb, wearing scaled armour and a red cloak - symbolising martyrdom - embroidered with gold. In his right hand he holds a spear, and in his left a sword. Behind his left shoulder, a richly patterned roundel indicates his shield. The scalloped halo brings a rich textural quality to the icon. Our icon is purely Byzantine in style and is the product of a workshop unaffected by the Fall of Constantinople some one hundred years previous to its production, or the development of the Venetian-Cretan school.

What we know about this historical figure comes from the eighth century account Atermii Passio. What we can glean from it is that Saint Artemios was a general on the staff of the Emperor Constantine I (272-373). He was Governor of Egypt and responsible for the translation of the relics of Saint Andrew the Apostle and Saint Luke the Evangelist to Constantinople. He died a martyr at Antioch in the reign of Julian the Apostate (r. 361 – 362) whom he had served in the war against the Persians.

A characteristic of Saint Artemios, which he shares with Saint Niketas, are his ‘Christ-like’ features, such as is seen in the Parekklesion (side-chapel) of the Karii Camii, the 14th century Church of the Chora, Constantinople (Figs. 1 & 2). The Painters Manual, the traditional iconographic handbook of saints as well as the Hermenia of Dion Niketas state that Artemios should be depicted like Christ1 thereby allowing a visual means of expressing the saint’s proximity to him.2 3 Further evidence of this Christ-like appearance is found on the walls of the Protaton (Main Church) of Mount Athos where there is a fine fresco by Manuel Panselinos which also attributes a Christ-like appearance to the saint (Fig. 3).

Fig. 1 & 2: Images of Artemios at the Chora Church, Istanbul, 14th century.

 

Further images of Artemios are found at the Capella Palatina, Sicily; Martorano, Sicily; Chapel of Saint George in St Paul’s Monastery on Mount Athos; Panagia of the Archon Apostolke at Kastoria; and the Vatopedi Monastery – all this shows his popularity in monumental church decoration.

Saint Artemios, 16th century. Formerly
Temple Gallery, now in a private collection

Fig.3: Saint Artemios, Manuel Pansalinos.
Protaton of Mount Athos, 14th century.

Detail: Back of panel


Footnotes:-


  1. Peterson, Thalia Gouma ‘The Survival of Byzantinism’ in the Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, Vol. XXIX, No. 1, Fall, 1971, p. 15. [return]
  2. Underwood, Paul A. "Fourth Preliminary Report on the Restoration of the Frescoes in the Kariye Camii at Istanbul by the Byzantine Institute, 1957-1958." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959): 185-212. Accessed November 26, 2020. doi:10.2307/1291133. [return]
  3. It must be noted that Paul Underwood conjectures that this may also be an image of St Niketus who is represented in a similar fashion to Artemios [return]