Northern chapel of Hagios Nikolaos in Penteli Cave: Hagia Aikaterina (1233\1234 A.D.), 2,09x0,95 m.

Hagia Aikaterina, Penteli Cave

Area: Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens
Date: 1233/1234 A.D.

After the clearing of the wall paintings of the chapel, the representation of HAGIA AIKATERINA was revealed on the southern side of the built screen. She is depicted on a dark blue ground standing and facing in three quarters, in a prayer position. She wears a valuable imperial gown, which consists of a long dark red sacque and the gold-embroidered ? that ends in a thorakion reminding a shield. On her head she wears a gold crown decorated with pearls, which denotes her noble lineage. The youthful saint has a slender build, fine features and well-looked-after brown red hair which ends in rich curls in the lower part of the neck. She oozes with nobility and high morals. The representation which derives from the screen of the chapel– an unusual place – seems to have the character of a votive portrait. For this reason it refers to the technique of portable icons. Stylistically there are elements denoting strong memories from the late-comnenian tradition. These are the love for the detailed attribution of the valuable textiles with the elaborate embroidery, the strong decorative mood, and the tight formation of the youthful naked flesh with the dark models and the rosy spots on the cheeks. A fragment is recovered on the lower part of the representation. It bears a symmetrical, hive-style decorative motif with tangent hexagons on a whitish ground.