8 June 2009
GREEK, CIRCA 1600
51.6 by 45.1 cm.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, D’un Autre Monde. Icônes Inconnues et Art Byzantin, Koninklijk Museum, Antwerp, 1997, no. 78.
The supreme Apostles are seen in three-quarter view, turning towards each other and jointly holding the model of an hexagonal, double-domed Church. Visible through its arched, colonnaded façade, is an oil lamp hung from the centre of the dome and a draped altar which bears the closed Gospels together with the paten and chalice of the Holy Communion. St. Peter carries a scroll and his major attribute, the keys to the Heavenly Kingdom, according to the Gospel of Matthew 16:19, whereas St. Paul holds the Gospel. The robust figures of classical proportions are dressed in chitons with golden clavi, covered by himatia outlined in gold and white-rendered folds. The icon is masterly executed with sombre colours and abundant gold thus adhering to the rules of Byzantine icon-painting, complemented by foliage decorative details on the columns’ capitals, the background of the rotunda and the raised border of the icon.
The represented subject was developed in the XV century and is a visual interpretation of the attempts made during the Council of Ferrara- Florence to unite the Eastern and Western Churches (1438–39).
Notes on symbols:
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