Icon with Saint Demetrios

Date: 950–1000

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Ivory

Dimensions: Overall: 7 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 3/8in. (19.7 x 12.1 x 1cm)

Classification: Ivories

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.324.3


Standing erect, spear in hand, Saint Demetrios appears ready to protect the faithful. Among the most popular of Byzantine military saints, his name is inscribed in Greek by his head. Martyred in the second city of the empire, Thessaloniki, in the early centuries of the church, he remains today the patron saint of that city. The cut-out panel at the base of the icon may have supported a standard that would have allowed the image to be carried in processions. The holes in the icon may mean that it was used as a cover for a book in the Latin West.