St. Basil with Scenes from His Life
16th century, Moscow School
Tempera on wood panel
108.3 x 82.6 cm (42 5/8 x 32 1/2 in.)
Saint Basil, a fourth-century archbishop and Doctor of the Church, established the basis of monastic life in the Eastern church. He was the leader of a sect of orthodox believers and was active in helping the needy. He built a hospice and a large complex to minister to the sick and attracted huge crowds with his preaching.
In this icon he is shown full-length with a Gospel book in his left hand; his right is raised in a two-fingered blessing. A three-quarter-length figure of Christ is depicted in a roundel above his right hand; another of the Blessed Mother appears in a roundel above the Gospel. Fourteen scenes of Saint Basil's life surround the main figure. The size of this icon suggests that it once hung on a church wall.
George R. Hann, Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1980