Panaghia Pausolypi Icon
Isle of Haki, Heybeliada, Turkey
Restoration of the Panaghia Pausolypi Icon
Isle of Halki, Heybeliada, Turchia
Venetian Heritage funded the restoration of the 14th-century icon kept in the main church of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the island of Halki, province of Heybeliada, Turkey.
Prior to its restoration, the structure of the icon had weakened due to fluctuations in humidity and woodworms, which caused the paint to flake, and oxidation adversely affected the varnish and color. The icon represents on one side the Virgin and Child, framed by ten sacred scenes, and on the reverse the Crucifixion. On the obverse Jesus has an uncommon pose; as he lifts his arms to his mother, the Child bends back toward the viewer. The depth in which are depicted the mother and child as well as the bent knees of the crucified Christ indicates the assimilation of Italian painting into the Byzantine sensibility. Mother and Child reflect recurrent motifs in 15th-century Cretan paintings; the child’s crossed ankles, his arms lifted to frame Mary’s head, and her fingers delicately supporting – thus drawing attention to – the bend of his head, in anticipation of his wither towards death. The soft, richly bundled folds of the garment and the colors of the drapery suggest that the icon is not in Cretan style but dates back to the mid-14th century. Originally the artwork served as a proskynitari, or veneration icon, and was situated in the north wall of the left narthex, known as the “Chapel of Panaghia Pausolypi”. The quality of the work, together with the extensive use of lapis lazuli, suggests that it comes from the Imperial icon workshop. It is among the finest works of its kind in existence and was displayed in 2004 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the exhibition: Byzantium – Faith and Power (1261 – 1557).