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Icon - St Demetrius slaying a pagan

St Demetrius slaying a pagan

  • Object:

    Icon

  • Place of origin:

    Greece (painted)

  • Date:

    19th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tempera on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Charles Marling

  • Museum number:

    W.64-1928

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case SF, shelf 17

Physical description

Tempera painting

Place of Origin

Greece (painted)

Date

19th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Tempera on panel

Dimensions

Height: 41.8 cm, Width: 28.6 cm

Object history note

Given by Sir Charles Marling, 1928
This icon was given to the V&A by the Trustees of the Estate of Lady Lucia Marling in 1928. Sir Charles Marling donated a large number of objects to the V&A in memory of his late wife including three icons (W.64-1928, W.65-1938, and W.68-1928). Charles Marling was a diplomat who had lived in Athens during the 1890s and assembled a large collection of textiles during his time in Greece and later in the Middle East, but who had also acquired other works of art.

Historical significance: This icon depicts the soldier saint Demetrius on horseback thrusting a spear through the neck of a man holding a sword who lies on the ground below. The hand of God appears in the upper left corner of the icon blessing the actions of the saint. While this iconography is typical of saint Demetrius from at least the ninth or tenth century, this icon can be attributed to the nineteenth century based on style. The vanquished foe appears to be a Turk and holds a menacing sword, though the saint appears to easily defeat him. The icon is badly damaged with a heavily abraded surface. And while has also been cut down and eaten by woodworm, the smooth original finish of the panel is still evident. While the horse appears wooden and stiff, the figure of the saint is elegant and conveys motion. The face and hands have been carefully modelled and have a smooth, glowing appearance. These features seem to indicate that the icon was deliberately aged in order to make it look older. The Feast day of Saint Demetrius is 26 October.

Descriptive line

Icon of St Demetrius slaying a pagan, Greek School, 19th century

Materials

Tempera; Panel

Techniques

Painting

Categories

Paintings; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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