Reverse Glass Painting - St John the Evangelist

Reverse Glass Painting - St John the Evangelist


A Romanian reverse glass painted ikon, depicting St John the Evangelist. It shows the saint as a young man with long hair, holding an elaborate chalice which is one of his attributes. According to legend, St John once drank a cup of snake venom to prove his divinity. The scene is framed by red and pink flowers.

This type of charming, naïve ikon was produced in Transylvania in the mid 20th century. The images were painted directly onto glass, beginning with the outlines and the foreground before building up towards the background - the opposite practise from a regular painting. This technique has been popular in Romania since the 17th century, when it was introduced by the ruling Hapsburg Empire. Folk artists took the German technique, but adapted it to create cheap and colourful icons for the local orthodox population.

The picture is in good condition with a new card backing to protect it. The original frame is hung the traditional method, with a wire threaded through a hole in the centre. It has some evidence of woodworm, now treated.

It measures 30 x 42 cm.

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