The Deësis and Saints

Constantinople, 10th century
Ivory with traces of polychrome
The Louvre, Paris

Unlike Western versions, this Deësis is not associated with either the instruments of the Passion or the imagery of the Last Judgment. Jesus sits enthroned and receives the intercessions of John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. The letters above his throne are the Greek abbreviations of "Jesus" and "Christ." The Virgin Mary stands on his left, labeled by the usual Greek abbreviation for "Mother of God." John is on Christ's right, labeled as O agios Ioannes Prodromos, "St. John the Forerunner," the epithet by which he is commonly known in the East.

In the register below the Deësis are five Apostles. Left to right, they are labeled as James, John the Theologian (known in the West as John the Evangelist), Peter, Paul, and Andrew. Following a convention seen in early mosaics, they are given scrolls and books in alternation. The heads of Paul and Andrew follow iconographic convention: a long beard and receding hairline for the former, and untidy hair for the latter.

The right wing features four military saints, identified by their labels: in the upper register the label on the left identifies St. George; the one on the right is obscured. In the lower register are St. Demetrius on the left and St. Procopius on the right. It is not clear why only the upper register portrays the saints in military garb.

On the left wing we also have military saints in the upper register. They are Theodore the Recruit on the left and Theodore Strateletes on the right. The saint on the left in the lower register is Eustratius, a military saint who was martyred under Diocletian. On the right is someone labeled as Α Ρ Ε Θ Σ (the martyred Arab Prince Arethas, 6th century?) or possibly Α Ρ Ε Σ Ε (the monk Arsenius the Great, 4th century? the bishop Arsenius of Corfu, 9th century?).

I cannot make out the labels of the saints in the clipei, either on the right wing or the left.

This image in full resolution
More of the Deësis

Photographed at the Louvre by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.