Orthodox Cross with Miniatures from Private Devotion, Mount Athos, circa 1720

Orthodox Cross with Miniatures from Private Devotion, Mount Athos, circa 1720

Miniature Orthodox Cross for private devotion, made of boxwood, completely carved and perforated on both sides with scenes often set inside architectural structures, where the characters inside depict the life and passion of Christ.

The Cross, created in the first quarter of the 18th century by a talented master carver, is composed of distinctive elements that characterize it and make it very rare, both for the era in which it was created and for the meticulous and perfect execution of the as many as 29 tiny figures contained within the scenes that occupy both micro-perforated facades which undoubtedly made its completion much more complicated also due to the small space used, limited between 8 cm high x 5 cm wide x 1 cm thick. Furthermore, the application of very fine gilding around its perimeter, further embellishing it, suggests a demanding noble commission or a high prelate.

There is its small original "processile" shaped support also made of boxwood which allows, by inserting it at the base of the Cross via joint, to support it without the risk of damaging it.

Extraordinary and rare cult object, perfectly preserved in exceptional conditions.

Some similar crosses are preserved in various museums around the world, all dating back to the 18th century.

Regarding these Crosses, the opinion regarding the exact place of origin is not entirely univocal, recent research agrees on a Greek origin, which can be extended to the regions of Orthodox observance and a production over a long period of time.

Furthermore, these Crosses are spoken of by Greek, Cypriot or Balkan authors but also by a rather mysterious creator, Zuan Zorzi (Giovanni Giorgio Lascaris) known as "Pirgotele", perhaps Greek by birth or only by origin, active in Venice, the Veneto and all the large territories subject to the influence of the "Serenissima".

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