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Prophet Elijah's Fiery Ascension
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Prophet Elijah's Fiery Ascension

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This icon depicts scenes from the life of the prophet Elijah, an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At the lower left is an illustration of 1 Kings 19:4-8, in which Elijah, discouraged by a death threat from Jezebel and the seeming failure of all his efforts, goes out into the wilderness, lies beneath a juniper tree, and prays for death. Instead, an angel comes to him in a dream and bids him eat, and when he awakes he finds bread and a cup of water. The story continues on at the upper left: Elijah then journeys forty days through the desert to a mountain cave, where he again prays for death, though he is granted only further assignments from God, who speaks to Elijah in "a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:9-18). On the right side of the icon is depicted "Elijah's Fiery Ascension." At the bottom, Elijah strikes the river of Jordan with his mantle, parting it so that he and his disciple Elisha (identified by his bald head) can cross between its parted waters (2 Kings 2:8). Above, Elijah is carried off in a whirlwind by chariots and horses of fire while an angel takes his cloak and drops it to Elisha (2 Kings 2:11-13). Another angel gestures to heaven, at the upper left, where God's hand and the end of his shirtsleeve are visible emerging from a radiant glow. A copper gilt cover, stored separately, accompanies the painted image. The icon is a good imitation of the style of the 16th century, though its state of preservation reveals that it was actually painted much later.
  • Realms of Faith: Medieval and Byzantine Art from the Walters Art Museum. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2001-2002.
  • Realms of Faith: Medieval and Byzantine Art from the Walters Art Museum. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2002-2005.
Provenance Ilya Metchnikoff (1906-1991), New York, 1950 (?), by purchase; Eleanor Metchnikoff (1909-2001), Annapolis, Maryland, 1991, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1996, by gift.
Credit Gift of Ilya and Eleanor Metchnikoff, 1996

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late 19th century (Modern)
tempera on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
12 x 10 5/16 in. (30.5 x 26.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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