St John the Baptist

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The saint is depicted in a stony desert, winged and conversing with Christ, who is shown blessing. At the bottom right the saint's decapitated head, encircled by a halo, is placed in a gold basin, a direct reference to his martyrdom. In the left-hand corner, symmetrically aligned with the head, is a tree and a turtle dove. The latter is a symbol of the Baptist, according to a hymn which is sung at the evening service on the feast of the Birth of the Baptist (24 June). In the far right corner is the artist's signature: ΧΕΙΡ ΑΓΓΕΛΟΥ (by the hand of Angelos). The icon is painted by the Cretan artist Angelos Akotantos who lived and worked in Venetian-held Chandax (now Herakleion) in the early 15th-c. The icon is one of the most important works by the painter. It reveals his familiarity with the Constantinopolitan painting.