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St CHARALMBOS AND AN UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SAINT
(In the imprinted anthivolon or drawing the representation is in reverse in relation to the work that was the model)
Charcoal 66 x 55.8 cm.
Late 18th century
The drawing comprises two pieces of handmade paper glued onto canson and card.The surface is extensively stained with rust and spots of reddish pigment.
Two full-bodied saints are depicted, a female saint left, with youthful features and the right hand in a gesture of supplication, and a male saint right, in garments of a presbyter, blessing and holding a bound codex.
The priest, with pronounced cheekbones and symmetrically arranged hair, displays affinity with representations of St Charalambos in Epirot wall-paintings and Bulgarian engravings. The iconographic type of St Charalambos, principal characteristics of which are the short white hair and the forked beard, is reproduced consistently until the seventeenth century and lives on throughout the eighteenth. The variation of the figure, with bald head, prominent temples and pointed beard, appeared in the seventeenth century in the Ionian Islands, where the saint was particularly venerated. The coexistence of at least two iconographic types in the seventeenth-eighteenth century caused some confusion in the representation of the saint, resulting the production of works in which elements of both are conflated. On the contrary, the lavishly decorated collar, a detail common in both variations, is enhanced as a standardized clement that apparently identifies the polyathlos priest. This element, which in Post-Byzantine times is frequently rendered schematically and disjunctively in relation to the other vestments, is sometimes misinterpreted and shown as a lozenge motif, as in the present drawing and as also in an engraving of 1783.
The iconographic study of the portrait and sartorial features of St Charalambos permits the confident identification of the saint in the drawing in the Makris-Margaritis Collection as the priest who protects against plague. The correction made to his beard, where an initial design with pointed tip is discerned, corroborates the above view. The portrait type of the female figure, with the narrow oval face, small eyes with faintly drawn eyebrows, small mouth and big nose finds parallels in depictions of saints such as Paraskevi, Barbara and Kyriaki. However, it displays particular affinity with an icon of Sts Paraskevi and Kyriaki in the church of St Demetrios at Stephaniana, Thessalonica (late 18th century).
The well-set figures with calm and elegant gestures, have flat facial expressions, a folk disposition and simplistic artistic means, traits that ascribe the drawing to a North Greek workshop of the closing years of the eighteenth century.
Κωνστάντιος 2001, pls 138a, 143a.
. Papastratos 1990, vol. I, nos 320, 321.
Μπαλτογιάννη 1986, nο. 46.
Μπαλτογιάννη 1986, nοs 46, 47.
Μπαλτογιάννη 1986, nος 128, 178, 221, 284. Chatzidakis 1985. no. 163. Καρακατσάνη 1980, nos 103, 104, 164, 165. Galerie Nikolenko 1975, no. 10.
N. Chatzidakis 1998, no. 23.
Bασιλάκη 1985-56, 241, fig. 2. Papastratos 1990, vol. I, nos 322-326, 354. Galerie Nikolenko 1975, nos 22, 27, 31. Chatzidakis 1997, no. 51.
Papastratos 1990, vol. 1, no. 319.
Εικόνες Ρουμανίας 1993, no. 49. N. Chatzidakis 1998, fig. 153. Ρηγόπουλος 2006, 2, nos 5.10, 304, fig. 196. Τσιγάρας 2005, figs 46, 48.
Ρηγόπουλος 2006, 2, no. 5.5, 286-289, fig. 186.
Κατάλογοι εικόνων 2006. 88, fig. 541.
Κατάλογοι εικόνων 2006. 41, fig. 143.