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The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, second half of 11 th century.

The forty soldiers-Christians, who died on the frozen lake in Sebaste true to their faith, are presented on the golden background of this icon. The scene, which is an illustration of the sufferings of these martyrs, is the last episode of their legend that was especially celebrated in the Byzantine capital. The naked figures of the soldiers who have ust simple cloth wrapped around their hips are of different age! beardless young men, middle-aged men up to gray-haired or bald old men with grayed beards, with numerous bleeding wounds on the bodies. They are depicted into four rows crowded one over another, left to their sufferings without any noisy gestures or e"ternal dramatics. Their inner mood is e"pressed by the limited movements of their heads or the standardized e"pression of their faces through the lowered ends of the eyebrows. The design has a rather pronounced brown line that skillfully forms the figures, following their every reaction in the process of freezing - from the helplessness and #uiet reconciliation with destiny to the desperate addressing to Christ with upraised arms and glances. The coloring, which is reduced to ust a few tones, also functions in presenting the slow process of the freezing. The bodies are painted in greenish color or nuances of ocher and the plasticity of the faces and the e"pressiveness of the significantly large eyes is achieved with white accentuation. $bove, in the middle of the icon, there is a segment of the sky. Christ, who is depicted inside this segment, gives them victorious wreaths as a prize for their sacrifice that is in fact the basic idea of this hagiographic cycle. The inscription! %& '()&*%& +,(,-*'.%/+' is written with dark brown.