The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and Four Men in the Fiery Furnace15th century, Novgorod SchoolTempera and gesso on linen24.4 x 20 cm (9-5/8 x 7-7/8 in.)The size of this tabletka, or double-sided icon, indicates that it probably sat on a cloth-draped lectern, or analoy. One side depicts the forty Roman soldiers who were martyred for their Christian beliefs in the fourth century by being forced to stand barefoot in a freezing lake. One of the soldiers recanted and entered a shelter on the lakeshore. A tormentor, impressed with the faith of the remaining thirty-nine, removed his clothing and joined the martyrs. Above the figures hover Christ and the crowns of martyrdom.The reverse of the icon depicts the Old Testament story of Four Men in the Fiery Furnace from the third book of Daniel. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego, refusing to worship the golden idol erected by King Nebuchadnezzar, were cast into the furnace. After an angel appeared to comfort them the king, shown seated on his throne with the idol on the column behind him, marveled that the young men were not harmed by the flames and released them.Provenance:The de Wijenburgh collection, NetherlandsTemple Gallery, LondonAcquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1979The Four Men in the Fiery Furnace15th centuryNovgorod SchoolTempera and gesso on linen9-5/8 x 7-7/8 in. 



The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and Four Men in the Fiery Furnace
15th century, Novgorod School
Tempera and gesso on linen
24.4 x 20 cm (9-5/8 x 7-7/8 in.)

The size of this tabletka, or double-sided icon, indicates that it probably sat on a cloth-draped lectern, or analoy. One side depicts the forty Roman soldiers who were martyred for their Christian beliefs in the fourth century by being forced to stand barefoot in a freezing lake. One of the soldiers recanted and entered a shelter on the lakeshore. A tormentor, impressed with the faith of the remaining thirty-nine, removed his clothing and joined the martyrs. Above the figures hover Christ and the crowns of martyrdom.

The reverse of the icon depicts the Old Testament story of Four Men in the Fiery Furnace from the third book of Daniel. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego, refusing to worship the golden idol erected by King Nebuchadnezzar, were cast into the furnace. After an angel appeared to comfort them the king, shown seated on his throne with the idol on the column behind him, marveled that the young men were not harmed by the flames and released them.

Provenance:

The de Wijenburgh collection, Netherlands
Temple Gallery, London
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1979
The Four Men in the Fiery Furnace
15th century
Novgorod School
Tempera and gesso on linen
9-5/8 x 7-7/8 in.