Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Wall paintings

Wall-painting with Saint Catherine (01068)

BXM: 001068
Exhibition room: II.5 Attica: a Byzantine province

Date: 1233/1234

Dimensions (cm): 209 x 95
Provenance: Chapel of Saint Nicholas of Spilia Pendeli, Attica

St. Catherine is depicted full-length, turned in three-quarter profile towards the left, with her hands outstretched in supplication.  She is wearing imperial dress, which recalls her aristocratic origins.  The wall-painting comes from the built sanctuary barrier in the north chapel of the Spilia Pendeli, Attica, which was dedicated to Saint Nicholas.  The limited movement and the reserved pose, the seriousness, the serene look and the faintly melancholy expression on the noble face are reminiscent of devotional icons and are consistent with the votive role of the portrait, emphasizing the eschatological character of the decoration in this funerary chapel.  This work, which recalls the art of icon painting, represents a conservative tendency in painting, characterized by survival of iconographic and stylistic features of the Comnenian period and reflects the aesthetic of the 12th century.  This painting is thought to be contemporary with the wall-paintings in the dome of the chapel, dated by inscription to 1233/1234.