Icon from the 15th century Novgorod School

I am always seeking a good 15th or 16th century icon to copy. My mother is quite disturbed that her nice Jewish (okay, Wiccan Jewish) daughter is going to paint something so distinctly Christian. So I’ve been looking for Old Testament icons to make her feel better.

Elijah the Prophet Ascends to Heaven in the Fiery Chariot

There is an excellent explanation of this particular image here. And it is indeed the ideal subject for me to be painting. Excerpted from the article:

The story of Elijah is extremely important to the understanding and interpretation of the icon, as it is significant for both, Christianity and paganism. Beliefs associated with Elijah the prophet are among the clearest examples of the so-called double faith (dvoeverie). The saint became connected with Perun, the pagan god of thunder because of his own judgment by fire on Mount Carmel and, ultimately, because of his fiery ascension to heaven (Onasch, 379). Elijah’s ascension in a chariot of fire gave him the title of protector from fire and thus turned him into one of the most popular saints. Elijah’s importance to the inhabitants of Northern provinces rests on their belief that veneration should be given to the saints that could benefit the peasants in “their daily occupations…and preserve them from dangers” (Rice, 70). Thus, Elijah’s famous fiery voyage became a popular topic of icons, particularly between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries.

The hunt for the pattern for this one might prove harder than I had hoped but I think I can probably work from the completed icon. The actual piece was sold within the last five years by a British art broker, so the odds are really against my ever having access to the original. Still, I think I can handle this one.

Now all I need is to make my linen garb with the ultra expensive trim I got at B Sharp Fabrics!

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1 Comment »

  1. Claire said

    Ms.Gypsy,funny..Coinkidink..my mother was Jewish also..I’m also,I guess pagan(at least thats what I’ve told by my friends when we have discussions about religion) and one of my quadruplets is named Elijah!!

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