10 Icons from the Bible, with footnotes, #16

Italian School, 19th century, in the manner of a Trecento work


Oil and gold ground on poplar panel

47.2 x 29.6 cm.; 18 5/8  x 11 5/8  in.

Private collection

The Trecento refers to the 14th century in Italian cultural history. Commonly the Trecento is considered to be the beginning of the Renaissance in art history. Painters of the Trecento included Giotto di Bondone, as well as painters of the Sienese School, which became the most important in Italy during the century, including Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Lippo Memmi, Ambrogio Lorenzetti and his brother Pietro. Important sculptors included two pupils of Giovanni Pisano: Arnolfo di Cambio and Tino di Camaino, and Bonino da Campione. More on Trecento

Italian School, probably Marchigian, circa 1400


Tempera and gold ground on poplar panel in an engaged frame

50.5 x 33 cm.; 19 7/8  x 13 in.

Private collection

Italian School, 14th century


Tempera and gold ground on poplar panel

86 x 52.4 cm.; 33 7/8  x 20 5/8  in.

Private collection

Mary Magdalene,  literally translated as Mary the Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, is a figure in Christianity who, according to the Bible, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She is said to have witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Within the four Gospels she is named more than most of the apostles. Based on texts of the early Christian era in the third century, it seems that her status as an “apostle” rivals even Peter’s.

The Gospel of Luke says seven demons had gone out of her. She is most prominent in the narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus, at which she was present. She was also present two days later when, she was, either alone or as a member of a group of women, the first to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. John 20 and Mark 16:9 specifically name her as the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene was regarded in Western Christianity as a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman, claims not found in any of the four canonical gospels. More Mary Magdalene

John the Apostle ( c. AD 6 – c. 106) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr’s death (excluding Judas Iscariot who died by suicide). The Church Fathers considered him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, although modern theologians and scholars have not formed a consensus on the relative identities of these men. The tradition of most Christian denominations holds that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament. More John the Apostle


Italian School, 14th century. During the 1200s a new format for painting—the altarpiece—appeared in Italian churches. Previously, fresco and mosaic decoration were predominant, and Western artists did not often paint on wooden panels

Italian artists working in this new medium turned for inspiration to the Christian East, adapting the techniques, style, and subject matter of Byzantine icons, devotional images whose backgrounds are dematerialized with shimmering gold and whose figures often appear timeless and remote. But church decoration in the West was also meant to instruct the faithful, which fostered less static styles. New religious orders, especially the Franciscans, who emphasized the human life of holy figures, prompted artists to capture the world of everyday experience with greater verisimilitude.

The Florentine Giotto is usually credited with first capturing the weight and mass of bodies in space, making them three-dimensional with light and shadow. He abandoned the decorative pattern and complicated line of Byzantine art for heavier, simpler forms and animated his figures with genuine human motivations. His innovations did not proceed uninterrupted, however, and after mid-century Florentine painters like Orcagna returned to a more ornate and less naturalistic style. More Italian School, 14th century

Circle of Quinten Massys


oil on oak panel

60.5 x 44.9 cm.; 23 3/4  x 17 5/8  in.

Private collection

Quinten Massys, 1465/6 – 1530. Massys was the leading painter in Antwerp in the early 16th century. He was born in Louvain and his earliest works show the influence of Memling, who had been active in Bruges. His later works show some Italian influence, particularly that of Leonardo. He was notable as a portraitist as well as a religious painter.

Massys is first recorded in Antwerp, on becoming a member of the guild there in 1491, when the town was beginning to assume importance as the main port of the Netherlands. There are dated and datable paintings by Massys from 1509 onwards, the year of the completion of his altarpiece of the ‘Legend of Saint Anna’ (now in the Brussels Museum).

In Antwerp, Massys was closely associated with Joachim Patinir, and seems to have supplied figures for his landscapes. More Quinten Massys,

Manner of Tommaso del Mazza, called the master of St. Verdiana


Oil on panel, gold ground, pointed tops

central panel: 89.5 x 34.6 cm.; 35 1/4  x 13 5/8  in.

wings, each: 68.9 x 17.3 cm.; 27 1/8  x 6 7/8  in.

Private collection

The Virgin Enthroned symbolizes the mystery of the incarnation of Christ made man and the glory of the Mother of God. This justifies the intense expression of the countenances, the solemn attitudes of the Saints present at the glory of the Mother of God, the awed attention of the Archangels who “behold” the mystery of the incarnation. More The Virgin Enthroned

The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.

According to Luke 1:26, the Annunciation occurred “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, an approximation of the northern vernal equinox nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus. In England, this came to be known as Lady Day. It marked the new year until 1752. The 2nd-century writer Irenaeus of Lyon regarded the conception of Jesus as 25 March coinciding with the Passion. More The Annunciation

Crucifixion is a historical method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation. It is principally known from classical antiquity, but remains in occasional use in some countries.

The crucifixion of Jesus is a central narrative in Christianity, and the cross (sometimes depicting Jesus nailed onto it) is the main religious symbol for many Christian churches. More Crucifixion


Tommaso del Mazza, known as the Master of Saint Verdiana (active 1377 – 1392), worked in the late Gothic style at the dawn of the Renaissance in Florence. In his early career, during the 1370s, he was active in the workshop of Andrea Orcagna, whose work featured gold backgrounds, attention to the picture’s surface, and brilliant colors. Showing no compulsion to render a scene in realistic detail, del Mazza allowed the needs of the theme and their inherent symbolism to determine his stylized approach to painting. In the 1390s he became an independent artist. More Tommaso del Mazza

South Netherlandish School, second quarter of the 16th century


Oil on oak panel, with an arched top, in an integral frame

Painted surface: 33 x 22.8 cm.; 13 x 9 in. 

Overall: 41 x 31 cm.; 16 1/8  x 12 1/4  in.

Private collection

The depiction of the Madonna on the crescent is based on the vision of John the Evangelist in chapter 12 of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament (here, the King James version):

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. More

The depiction of the back of the Virgin and Child, with the two figures looking over their shoulders, is particularly rare in Western art. There are only three other examples of this type recorded in the database of the RKD, The Hague, both anonymous and dated to the same period as the present panel. More on The depiction

Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists, sometimes known as the Flemish Primitives, active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance; especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Ghent, Tournai and Brussels. Their work follows the International Gothic style. It lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568. Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but is seen as an independent artistic culture, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy. B

Assisted by the workshop system, panels and a variety of crafts were sold to foreign princes or merchants through private engagement or market stalls. A majority were destroyed during waves of iconoclasm in the 16th and 17th centuries; today only a few thousand examples survive.

Scholarship of Early Netherlandish painting was one of the main activities of 19th and 20th-century art history, and was a major focus of two of the most important art historians of the 20th century: Max J. Friedländer (From Van Eyck to Breugel and Early Netherlandish Painting) and Erwin Panofsky (Early Netherlandish Painting). More Early Netherlandish 



Cast in relief, enamelled in green, white, black, white and blue

21.3 x 17.3 cm. 

Private collection



Cast in relief, enameled in green, white, yellow, blue and black

21 x 17 cm.

Private collection

The first reference to the activity of the triune God is recorded in the first account of creation. There it states: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” and also: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness'”. “Elohim”, the designation for God used in the original Hebrew text, is plural. It means “the Divine” as well as “gods” and should be understood, in light of the gospel, as a reference to the triune God.

The various divine manifestations, for example “Angel of the Lord”, “Spirit of God”, or “Spirit of the Lord” are also interpreted as references to the mystery of the trinity of God.

The three messengers of God who visited Abraham are understood in Christian tradition as a reference to the mystery of the divine Trinity.

The activity of the triune God in the priestly blessing is interpreted in the same way: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

The angel’s threefold praise in the inaugural vision of the prophet Isaiah is also considered an indication of God’s trinity: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”. More on  triune God

BRASS ICON,  Russian, 


Cast, decorated with enamel

11.2 x 9.8 cm

Private collection

Saint Dimitrios. The city of Thessaloniki suffered repeated attacks and sieges from the Slavic peoples who moved into the Balkans, and Demetrios was credited with many miraculous interventions to defend the city. Hence later traditions about Demetrius regard him as a soldier in the Roman army, and he came to be regarded as an important military martyr. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. More Saint Dimitrios

Secondary altar shrine

Overall height: 127 cm. 

Width: 83.5 cm. Depth: approx. 31 cm. 

17th century

Wooden high altar shrine with carved blasting gables, in winged angel head, including frieze. The doors are carved with cassettes, each with a moving braid. In the open state round arched box nets. Previously, carving relief depictions of Saint Peter on the left as well as of Saint Francis on the right, each on large acanthus volute. The back wall painted in a landscape, a wooden cross with a carved Corpus Christi, flanked by the assistant figures “Maria” and “Johannes” in the Hochrelief. The doors of the door are decorated with four paintings, on the upper left, “Jesus at the Mount of Olives,” on the upper right, “Flagellation of Christ”. Figures and reliefs. (1091259) (2) (11) Two-door shrine altar Height: 127 cm. Width: 83.5 cm. Depth: about 31 cm. 17th century. Portrait format wooden altar shrine. When it’s done, it’s a box-shaped niche surmounted by a round arch with carvings of Saint Peter on the left and Saint Francis on the right. The interior of a carved wood carving in a carved wooden carving in the background. Four paintings are set inside the doors. When it’s done, it’s a box-shaped niche surmounted by a round arch with carvings of Saint Peter on the left and Saint Francis on the right. The interior of a carved wood carving in a carved wooden carving in the background. Four paintings are set inside the doors. When it’s done, it’s a box-shaped niche surmounted by a round arch with carvings of Saint Peter on the left and Saint Francis on the right. The interior of a carved wood carving in a carved wooden carving in the background. Four paintings are set inside the doors.

Acknowledgement: HAMPEL,  SOTHEBY’S, and others

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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