Double-Sided Pendant Icon with the Virgin and Christ Pantokrator
Made in Constantinople
Gold, cloisonné enamel
Overall: 1 5/16 x 15/16 x 1/16in. (3.3 x 2.4 x 0.2cm)
Thickness: 1/16 x 1 5/16in. (0.2 x 3.3cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
This pendant is one of the most beautiful and technically accomplished personal devotional objects to survive from Byzantium. On one side Christ Pantokrator (Ruler of All) blesses the viewer with his right hand and holds the Gospel book in his left. Christ gazes to the side, acknowledging the prayers of the Virgin on the reverse. The surrounding gold ground recalls the shimmering surface that frames images of the Pantokrator in the domes of middle Byzantine churches. The Virgin, shown in three-quarter profile, raises her hands in prayer to her son in heaven on behalf of the pendant’s owner. Her pose is modeled on a famous icon of the Virgin known as the Virgin Hagiosoritissa, or Virgin of the Holy Soros (Relic).
Inscription: Abbreviated inscriptions on both faces. In lobes beside Christ (IC XC), "Christ," and above and below (OBTA) "The King of Glory." In lobes beside the Virgin (MP OY) "Mother of God".
[ Artemis Fine Arts Limited(sold 1994)]
Evans, Helen C., and William D. Wixom, ed. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 112, p. 165.
Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 102, p. 88.
Vassilaki, Maria, ed. The Mother of God: Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine Art. Milan and Athens: Skira Editore, 2000. p. 181.
Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 46.