Φορητή εικόνα της Σταυρώσεως στη μονή Μεγίστης Λαύρας Αγίου ΌρουςPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.47, 2008, pages 151-158
A Portable Icon of the Crucifixion in the Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos
A he icon of the Crucifixion (124x94 cm.) in the GreatLavra on Mount Athos (Figs 1-6) published here is thesecond side of a bilateral icon with a depiction of thePanayia Hodegetria on the front. The main side of the icon,with the Panayia Hodegetria surrounded by small icons ofthe twelve apostles in bust, was overpainted in early moderntimes, and will therefore not be presented here.The subject of the Crucifixion in the Lavra icon (Fig. 1) unfolds before the walls of Jerusalem, and is confined to themain figures, of Christ, the Virgin and John.From an iconographie point of view, the icon of the Crucifixion in the Great Lavra Monastery follows an austere iconographie schema with the main figures of the representation.This iconographie type of the Crucifixion occurs as early asthe Middle Byzantine period in monumental painting, portable icons and illuminated manuscripts. This iconographieschema, with individual variations from icon to icon in thegestures of the people depicted and to a lesser extent in theirstances, was very widespread at the time of the Palaiologoi.From an iconographie and typological point of view, the figures of Christ (Fig. 2), the Virgin (Fig. 3) and John (Fig. 4)follow established types found in Palaiologan monumentalpainting, and also in the art of portable icons, examples being the Crucifixion on a bilateral icon in the Art Gallery ofOhrid (early 14th c), the Crucifixion on a bilateral icon inDidymoteicho (second decade of the 14th c), the Crucifixion in the Ecumenical Patriarchate (second half of the 14tha), the Crucifixion on a bilateral icon in the Art Gallery ofthe Crypt of St Alexander Nevski in Sofia (about 1369), theCrucifixion in the Museum of Varna (second half of the 14thc), and others.From an artistic point of view, the closed figures of the Virgin and John, with their bowed heads and the harmony oftheir reciprocal stances and gestures, are set in an austere,complex schema in which Christ forms the central axis (Fig.1). From a technical point of view, the faces of Christ (Fig.2), the Virgin (Fig. 3) and John (Fig. 4) are full of life and aretreated in a painterly fashion. This technique in the treatment of the face, known from painting of the late thirteenthand early fourteenth century, is revived from the middle ofthe fourteenth century in wall-paintings and portable iconsfrom workshops in Constantinople and Thessaloniki, suchas the wall-paintings of the Katholikon of the PantokratorMonastery on Mount Athos, the wall-paintings of the OldMetropolis of Edessa (1375-79 or 1389), the wall-paintingsof the chapel of the Ayioi Anargyroi in the Vatopedi Monastery (about 1371), the wall-paintings of Kalendzidra inGeorgia (late 14th c.) by the Constantinopolitan painterMarkos Evgenikos, and others.It is my opinion, therefore, that the icon of the Crucifixion isa work of excellent artistic quality produced in a workshop inThessaloniki or Constantinople in the third quarter of thefourteenth century.