Collection Online

Saints Basil, Chrysostom and Gregory with a kneeling donor
(early 18th century)

oil and gold leaf on wood panel
44.0 × 35.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1949
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International

Collection of Charles T. Seltman (1886–1957), London, by 1946; exhibited Greek Art, Royal Academy, London, 1946, no. 367, lent by Charles Seltman; from whom purchased, on the advice of A. J. L. McDonnell and Sir Kenneth Clark, for the Felton Bequest, 1948; arrived Melbourne, 1949.

The doctrinal underpinnings of the Orthodox Church were primarily the work of Saints Basil the Great (d. 378), John Chrysostum ‘the ‘golden mouthed’ (d. 407), and Gregory Nazianzus ‘the Theologian’ (d.389). These Church fathers were known as the ‘Three Hierarchs’, and opinion differed as to which was greatest. Their admirers fell into arguing and the schism was not resolved until they appeared in a vision before the bishop John of Euchaïta, stating, ‘We are one before God’. They called for a feast day on 30 January and promised to intercede collectively on behalf of those who honoured them. This icon would have been commissioned by the small kneeling donor depicted at lower left, an unusual and western element in an otherwise typical Greek icon of the subject.