Temple Gallery

Established 1959


AZ18. Apostle Philip
Crete or Ionian Islands, 17th century
Panel: 87.2 x 42.6cm; thickness 2.1cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial
Condition: Good condition with minor retouches
Inscription: Ο [Ά] ΓΙ [ΟΣ [ΦΊ] ΛΙΠΠΟΣ (The Holy Philip)
Provenance: Temple Gallery 1970s; Robson collection Chicago
Feast day: Western May 3, Eastern November 14; Patron of hatters and pastry chefs
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No. 18. Detail

No. 18. Detail

Biblical references to Philip are minimal (John 1:43-51, Acts 8:26-40) and laconic. Icons of him are rare, other than those found on the series of the Twelve Apostles on the Deesis row of an iconostasis. Our icon corresponds to the tradition, which varies little, where he is shown as a youthful preacher dressed as a philosopher of antiquity in a green chiton and red himation, a gold clavus (signifying rank) on his shoulder. An early example, dating from the tenth century is in St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. St Philip, 10th century, Sinai

If we exclude Domenicos Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco, who abandoned the Byzantine Cretan style altogether, the most famous Cretan painter of the 17th century is Michael Damaskinos (1530-1593) (Fig. 2). Our painter is his contemporary and to some degree, in the vivid contrasts of strong colour and the treatment of drapery folds and light reflexes, his follower. His work is highly skilled and confident.

Fig. 2. Apostle Bartholomew, Damaskinos, 1570

No. 18. Detail

Fig. 3. Back of Panel