(2nd half of 15th century)

Royal Door

Egg tempera on spruce, 116 x 59 cm
Ikonen-Museum, Recklinghausen

The double door was the central entrance of a templon (an iconostasis) and once led to the sanctuary (bema). What is striking is the shape of the door with its twice-curved ogee arch, a feature that is known neither from Byzantine nor Russian royal doors. During the Byzantine period, double doors with a round arch were customary. They replaced the curtains which had previously been used to cover the entrances to the templon.

The door is decorated with images painted on it over a gold background. The top left image shows the Archangel Michael in armour holding a raised sword, the top right image depicts Gabriel holding a staff and a sphaira (orb). Painted on the door's lower zone are the abbot Saint Zosimas and the ascetic hermit Mary of Egypt. They are represented at the moment when Zosimas administers communion to the former prostitute as a sign of forgiveness; she had atoned her sins as an anchorite in the desert for 47 years.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.