Early 19th Century Ikon of St Barbara


This ikon is in good condition, and is in the what is known as "German style", being painted in a three dimensional post-renaissance manner. It dates from 1800-1850. The timber panel has two cleats to the rear. The purpose of these was to prevent the cupping (bowing) of the panel. They never worked. St Barbara is dressed in fine raiment with lavish jewels. These include a diadem and gilded slippers. She carries a sword.

St Barbara is almost certainly entirely mythical, as no accounts of her existence predate the 7th century, while she is supposed to have lived in the 3rd century. This great beauty was hidden away from the public by her father. He was a rich man called Dioscorus, hence Barbara's lavish wardrobe. Before leaving on a journey he commissioned a private bath house to be erected for his daughter. As she had converted to Christianity she altered the design from two to three windows, as a sign of the trinity. We can see the three windowed bath house lower right.  After any misadventures, she refused to give up her faith and was beheaded by her father, who was consequently consumed by lightning and fire, quite rightly. Presumably the blade she carries as an attribute is the beheading knife.

31 cm tall and 24 cm wide.

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