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Icons associated with worship, such as the icons of the Great Deesis (Christ, the Mother of God, Archangels, and Apostles) acquire great importance in the icon production of Sinai during the thirteenth century. Their contribution to the evolution of the iconostasis is quite significant.

These four icons – painted in the monastery, by an artist from Constantinople – belong to this iconographic theme and to an iconostasis and are evidently masterpieces associated with the monumental art of Constantinople. They possess a quality of Greek plasticity, produced with the use of light shadows and highlights, and graduated color tones, and also a sense of melancholy. The frontal, majestic image of Christ exhibits a strong sense of Classicism, and appears to have used the sixth century encaustic icon of Christ [2] as its prototype. Even though the figures acquire depth, harking back to earlier painting styles, they retain their ethereal character, and their gazes reveal a sense of transcendence.


Details

Tempera on wood
c. 1200-1250
54 Χ 45 cm, 54,5 Χ 45,7 cm, 54,1 Χ 46,5 cm, 54 Χ 45 cm
Great Deesis Icons
St. Catherine's Monastery Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate