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The original
Christ Pancrator


First A4 copy
onto card using
the stylus &
drawing tip

Inspirational
piece worked
onto MDF board
using molten wax
colours and cold
hair brushes

Christ Pancrator - St.Catherine's Monastery Mt Sinai, Egypt
A 6th century icon ( that was visited on an auspicious date).

Michael's Story for 12.12.2012

On 12.12.12 I visited a monastery in Sinai Desert - by Moses mountain (Mt Sinai, Egypt) I was on an early winter vcation to see adn remember what the sun lloked like (after a continuously wet year in Wales). At the resort in Sharm el Sheik they always try to make you take some tours - me and Shona (my wife) agreed before going to Egypt that there were no tours this time. BUT, when we met the hotel agent he mentioned that St.Catherine's Monastery,has an icon gallery there. And then I heard they had some wax paintings, even encaustic works - that is why I journeyed out into the desert on this auspicious date.

At St. Catherine's Monastery, in the Church of the Transfiguration, are many many lovely art treasures - really treasures - from the Byzantine period (much 5 - 7th century). I liked it in there a lot, but the guide we had was in a rush - ' .... no time  .... no time.... ... must go to be in convoy for desert (lot s of police checks on the way but al is safe enough)! Anyway, we insisted to get 5 minutes in the Icon gallery - Shona and I went in, initially the only 2 people from the trip. I bought the tickets and then went in through the first door on the left.....

There, right in front of my nose and at eye level exactly, was the 6th Century encaustic icon "Christ Pancrator" - my heart was filled up.

Almost too soon, we knew we must go back outside this place - too quickly and not yet ready to leave. When we did go outside another couple heard me talk about it and begged the guide that they could go in there before leaving too. Finally he said ' ...strictly 5 minutes only' or we would miss the security convoy through the Sinai desert - the police would then not allow us to leave for another 2 or 3 hours. So, I took the further opportunity and I also went back in, to look again, to see more, to study the surface of that relic.

When I came out there was a monk there talking and (without a long story) I said that I loved the icon inside and had made a simple copy years before and eventually had it published it in a small book about encaustic. He smiled and put his head to one side - "...you were a carpenter before" he said - "Yes" I replied... "well I have your book and all the things to begin encaustic from you, but I never started yet."

I was so touched that a circle was completed and that on this special day something very strong was in the prayers of our encaustic hearts - a strong actual feeling of the Universe communicating. It has given me a lot of encouragement with continuation of the encaustic work.

NOTE: The encaustic art range is marketed most strongly into the Hobby Art area. The How to Paint with Wax book that the monk now had is not really any help to him in painting an icon, in fact, on seeing the icon I really wonder if it is painted by use of molten wax or if a cold wax paste was used.

If you want to see some more of these icons in small form
there is an icon gallery on this Egyptian tours site.

 

 

Christ Pancrator - Icon Gallery, St.Catherine's Monastery, Mt Sinai, Egypt. A 6th century icon identified as "encaustic work"

This icon is world famous and resides in the icon gallery of the monks at St.Catherine's monastery which is at the foot of Mount Sinai. In this monastery are contained what are held as relics of Moses - the burning bush and Moses well. There is a richly decorated and artistically full Church of the Transfiguration and then a small but vastly precious icon gallery. This small gallery contains the largest collection of illuminated manuscripts outside of the Vatican. And it managed to escape the iconoclast period's destruction of icons and about one third of those surviving icons are to be found here.

View a bigger image of the original here

Christ Pancrator A4 copy - (297mm x 210mm on card) first ever icon piece by Michael Bossom that was inspired by the original image of Christ Pancrator (at top of page). This one was created using a low heat stylus with a drawing tip as the main tool and the coloured encaustic art wax blocks. It was later published in his hobby art book by Search Press in 1996 entitled "Encaustic Art - How to paint with wax".

Christ Pancrator - (1220mm x 760mm on MDF board) second icon piece by Michael Bossom that was inspired by the original image of Christ Pancrator (at top of page). This much larger piece was painted using cold hogs hair brushes and a molten palette of wax colours. For the finer and closer work a small painting iron was used upside down with the iron's base acting as a heated palette which could be held close to the working area. In this way the smaller brushes would still be holding hot liquid wax when they arrived at the surface of the painting as it evolved. The modernised image was shown at the Art Materials Exhibition in Islington, London as an example of hot liquid wax painting onto cold board surface.

Rooted in the Fire - A2 (630mm x 445mm) on white card  -  a modern image painted earlier in 2012 but relating to the mood of the 'Moses in the Desert' theme.

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