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LOT 0605

GBP (£) 10,000 - 14,000
EUR (€) 11,460 - 16,050
USD ($) 12,910 - 18,080

Opening Bid
£9,000 (EUR 10,315; USD 11,621) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Medieval Veneto-Cretan Mother of God Icon

16th century AD

A large icon executed in tempera(?) and gold leaf on a slightly curved wood panel base depicting Mary Theotokos and the infant Jesus on a plain gold field; Mary with head slightly bowed left wearing a red maphorion mantle over a dark blue robe, with elaborate golden saltires on the shoulder and brow, fine gold brocade to the hem, floriate disc-brooch fastening to the chest; the infant Saviour facing away to left, supported on Mary's right arm dressed in blue tunic strewn with similar crosses, wrapped in a red shawl with gold highlights to folds, right hand in the pax gesture, left hand extended holding a globus cruciger; the reverse and edges with gesso to surfaces; from the Veneto-Cretan guild. 6.2 kg, 69 x 55 cm (27 x 21 3/4"). Very fine condition; superb quality.

Property of a Surrey gentleman; acquired 2010 from a private European collector living in South Kensington, London, UK.

Cf. Weizmann, K. et al. The Icon, New York, 1982, p.318 for a Veneto-Cretan Ritzos icon with stylistic similarities and pp.310-315 for information; cf. Phillips sale 28450, London, 3 December 1990, lot 98 for another, possibly by the same artist.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD, the former Greek territories were divided between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice. The Venetians encouraged their Greek subjects to develop their Christian religious traditions while at the same time bringing them into contact with intellectual trends current in western Europe. Scholars and artists who took refuge in Crete created a new 'Veneto-Cretan' artistic tradition which included religious paintings and other artworks.

The icon painters were organised into a guild - the Scuola di San Luca - which promoted a specific post-Byzantine style through a system of instruction and apprenticeship which lasted for more than two centuries. The output of this school was highly regarded and commissions were undertaken on behalf of both Catholic and Orthodox institutions. Portable icons became a specialism of the Cretan school, which all but abandoned the use of mural paintings; Andreas Ritzos (d. 1492) is the most famous of the Cretan painters, and his influence can be seen throughout the canon of Veneto-Cretan iconography. His son, Nicholas, followed in the same tradition, but only one major work is attributed to him (the Deesis). Subsequent generations of Veneto-Cretan artists were able to merge the local tradition with trends in mainstream western European art, illustrating religious themes.

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Thursday 22nd Nov. 2018
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Friday 23rd Nov. 2018 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 660

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

Auctions start 10am BST (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Saturday 24th Nov. 2018 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1361
Sunday 25th Nov. 2018 (Day 3)
Lots 1362 - 2020
Monday 26th Nov. 2018 (Day 4)
Lots 2021 - 2681
Tuesday 27th Nov. 2018 (Day 5)
Lots 2682 - 3343
Wednesday 28th Nov. 2018 (Day 6)
Lots 3344 - 3506
Lots 3600 – 4131

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