Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Sculpture

Marble slab from a templon epistyle (00979)

BXM: 000979
Exhibition room: II.3 Worship and art

Date: 2nd half of 10th century

Dimensions (cm): 47,5x 94x 3
Provenance: Thessaloniki (monastery of Vlatadon)

The slab comes from Thessaloniki. It is decorated with three full-length figures of apostles identified with inscriptions (from left to right): Ο Α(ΓΙΟC) ΙΑΚΩΒΟC ΑΛΦΑΙΟΥ, Ο Α(ΓΙΟC) ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟC, Ο Α(ΓΙΟC) ΛΟΥΚΑC [S(t) James Alphaios, S(t) Philip, S(t) Luke].  The decoration is executed in the champlevé inlay technique, in which the subjects project in relief from a smooth surface, created by the removal of a thin layer of marble, inlaid with a wax and mastic gum used for modelling the imagery (?or v.v.). In this case most of the inlay has fallen away.  The iconography leads us to suppose that this sculpture was part of a large templon epistyle with other similar slabs, decorated with the Grand Deisis, i.e. Christ flanked by the Virgin, St John the Baptist and the apostles.