Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Virgin Hodegitria with Saints George and Demetrios and the Archangels Michael and Gabriel - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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UU007. Virgin Hodegitria with Saints George and Demetrios and the Archangels Michael and Gabriel

Northern Greek or Romania
18th century
19 x 26 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial
With frame 34 x 54 cm

£3,250 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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In the central panel of the triptych the Virgin holds the Christ Child in her left arm and directs the viewer towards his body with her right hand - a typology known as the Hodegetria (she who shows the way), one of the most famous and ancient iconographies. The type was known in the time before the first period of Byzantine iconoclasm in the 8th century. The most venerated icon of the Hodegetria type, regarded as the original, was displayed in the Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria (or simply Hodegon Monastery) in Constantinople, which was apparently built in the 5th century by the Empress Pulcheria. In the late Byzantine period 'this icon was removed from the church every Tuesday and carried in procession through the streets, attended by large crowds hoping for miraculous cures.[1]'

On the left side panel we have Saint George slaying the dragon and the Archangel Michael directly above. While on the right side panel we see Saint Demetrios slaying the 'king of the infidels' and above him the Archangel Gabriel. The composition is balanced and symmetrical, the figures mirroring each other, and directs the viewer’s eye to the central frame.

Our version is comparable to icons painted in northern Greece, the Balkans and Romania from the post-Byzantine period onwards. For example, a similar approach - especially in relation to the physiognomy of the faces and garments - can be seen in a 16th century Romanian icon of the Virgin and Child in the Pangarati Monastery in Romania (fig. a).

Fig. a. Virgin and Child (detail), Romanian, 16th c. Pangarati Monastery, Romania

1. Alexander P. Kazhdan [ed.], The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Vl.2, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 939

Detail Images