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Icon Triptych: Ewost' atéwos and Eight of His Disciples

Date:
late 17th century
Geography:
Ethiopia, North of Gojjam province
Culture:
Amhara peoples
Medium:
Wood, tempera, cord
Dimensions:
H. 22 1/16 x W. 27 9/16 in. (56 x 70 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Paintings
Credit Line:
Louis V. Bell Fund, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.98
  • Description

    This is the only known icon devoted to the genealogy of a monastic order. Its subject is the "House of Ewost' atéwos," one of two major monastic orders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Born circa 1273, St. Ewost' atéwos founded a number of monasteries in northern Ethiopia. Doctrinal disputes led to his exile in Egypt and Armenia, where he died around 1352. In this visual genealogy of the Ewost' atéwos house, he is heralded at the summit of the central panel as a revered visionary surrounded by his followers. In his left hand is a prayer staff carried by traveling monastics, and in his right are a censor and cross wielded for blessing. The inscription directly above identifies him as "revered teacher of religion in Ethiopia and Armenia." Eight diminutive disciples are depicted in his image to underscore their devotion and allegiance. Each is identified by name and distinguished by the vibrant, swirling colored patterns of their robes. Given this work's considerable scale and imagery, it was likely the property of a monastery whose historical ties to neighboring communities it recorded. A panel painting was regarded as the spiritual embodiment of the saint portrayed.

  • Provenance

    Signore Vesecchi, Milan, Italy; Signora Mitrano, until (d.)1997; by descent to her son, Andrea Mitrano, Varese, Italy, 1997–2005; [Sam Fogg, Ltd., London, 2005–2006]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
319625

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