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This icon largely follows upon the iconography found in printed icons, depicting the Sinai landscape and its holy sites, as it had crystallized during the second half of the seventeenth century. Moses, kneeling and removing his sandals, is depicted on the left side of the icon, while the Monastery of Sinai, its curtain walls and towers, the Katholicon with the vision of the Bush, the mosque with its minaret, cells, etc., are portrayed below. Monks are seen exiting the west gate in order to greet the arrival of the archbishop and his entourage, while a monk on the north wall is lowering a basket full of food to the Bedouin through the projected opening. In the background we see the three summits of Mount Sinai, and the top of Saint Episteme on the left, adorned with a large cross on it. Behind this summit a personified sun casts a ray that pierces through the mountain to light a scene depicting the Virgin of the Bush over the chapel named after her, to the east of the Katholikon. The personification of the Moon is found on the right. The summit in the center is adorned, from top to bottom, with the scenes of Moses receiving the Law from God, the vision of Prophet Elijah, two monks ascending the mountain on a stepped pathway, and some chapels. On the highest summit on the right, we see two angels depositing the holy relics of Saint Catherine in front of her chapel there, and a monk ascending towards it. Lastly, at the foot of the mountain we find a shepherd and several chapels and walled “kathismata” gardens.


Details

Tempera on wood
First half of eighteenth century
39 Χ 28,6 cm
St. Catherine's Monastery Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate