Icon depicting Saint Catherine

Saint Catherine is depicted seated on a low wooden throne, holding in her left hand the wheel and the cross, symbols of her martyrdom, and in the right a quill pen. She wears red regal raiment, a loros and a crown, over which is a mantle lined with ermine and embroidered with gold eagles amidst leaves. Beside her are the symbols of the wise princess’s knowledge; on her left an astronomer’s globe resting on books, and on her right a low lectern with open book, and lower down dosed books and a pair of compasses. Full-bodied female figures, personifications of virtues, are rendered in gold brushwork on the lectern and the throne. Towards the bottom, on a white band, is the painter’s signature.

The iconograplfic type of Saint Catherine enthroned, as in this icon, is known from a work by Georgios Klontzas in Osimo and was established during the second half of the sixteenth century, with possible depictions of it in works by Michael Damaskenos. Well-known are the examples of the type in works by conservative painters in the first half of the seventeenth century, such as by Emmanuel Lambardos in the Benaki Museum, Jeremiah Palladas in Sinai and Silvestros Theocharis in Patmos (.

The painter of the Canellopoulos icon faithfully follows these models and executes the decorative details with care, especially in the embroideries on the saint’s mantle. The modelling of the flesh with smooth, well worked surfaces, and the sweetness of the young saint’s expression are additional traits of the art of the painter, who must have belonged to the same generation.

Chatzidakis N. 2007. Catalogue no. 183, in Skampavias K.—Chatzidakis N. (eds), Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum.Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art, Athens, 340–341.