Belarusian School of Icon Painting

St. Paraskeva

Paraskeva.jpg (36498 bytes)

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Middle to second half of XVI century
(XIV-XV cc according to some experts)

Author unknown

Wooden board, egg tempera
117 x 81 x 2.5 cm

The icon is currently in the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus. This icon was found in one of the churches in Slucak region of Minsk voblasc' in 1921 by an ethnographic expedition. Paraskeva is shown full face. She is wearing red cape with green lining on top of blue chiton with ornamental decoration on the color and cuffs. A 7-end cross is in her right hand and an S-shaped scripted text is in her left. Nimbus, background and signatures are all gold plated. The background is decorated with floral ornament. The fields around the icon are gray.

   Paraskeva means actually 5th day of the week in Greek language or Friday. It is just as the result of a misconception among early Eastern Slavs that Paraskeva has transformed into an actual Saint figure - Paraskeva-Friday. There are 4 iconografical derivatives of Paraskeva - celebrated on different days:

n October 28 is a day of Paraskeva- The Great Sufferer
n October 14 - Paraskeva-Prapadobnaia (known also as Serbian or Belgrad Paraskeva)
n July 26 - Prapadobnapakutnitsa "or the Old Rome" one.
n March 20 - one more Paraskeva-The Sufferer. This one was considered a sister of Fatynia.

The iconographic scheme was created uinder influence of a prinyt "Petca" from the book of "Minnea Selected" printed in Venice in 1538 (see page 45). THis icon differs from Russian depictions of Paraskeva of XV-XVI cc. The luscious ornamental relief is borrowed from Italian textiles and German Gobelin (tapestry), as it is in other icon "Christ Pantocrator" from the same historical period.


References used in page:

"Ikanapis Belarusi XV-XVIII stahoddziau"("Icon Painting of Belarus in XV-XVIII centuries"), Minsk - 1994, publishing house "Belarus",Ed.: N.F. Vysockaia.
ISBN 5-338-01183-2

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