The National Museum of Western Art

update 29 November 2019

on display Permanent collection

Andreas Ritzos [Candia, c. 1422 - ?]

Icon: Ascension of Christ with the Hetoimasia

Materials/Techniquestempera on panel
Size (cm)71 x 47.5
InscriptionsSigned lower right
Credit LineEx-Matsukata Collection
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1973-0004
Icon: Ascension of Christ with the Hetoimasia

This icon is a typical example of the 15th-century Cretan-Venetian school that grew from the tradition of Byzantine court painting. This painting from the Matsukata Collection, along with the Death of the Virgin today in the Galleria Sabauda in Turin, is considered one of Ritzos' best large-scale icons. Very little inpainting has occurred in the centuries since its creation, and thus the work fully conveys Ritzos' considerable ability as a veteran icon painter. The painting shows the Ascension of Christ in the center with the "Hetoimasia," or empty throne that symbolizes God, above it. Ritzos has placed the Feast of Abraham at the top of the composition as the symbol of the Holy Trinity. Standing portraits of six saints are shown, three on the right (St. John the Baptist, St. Nicholas and St. Onuphrius) and three on the left (St. James the Greater, St. Anthony and St. Sebastian) of the central image. Half-length figures of Emperor Constantine, his mother Helen, St. Catherine, and St. Paraskeva appear in the lower section. The Greek signature that reads literally "by the hand of Andreas Ritzos" appears in the lower right, beneath the feet of St. Sebastian. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 1)

Provenance

Kojiro Matsukata;The 3rd Matsukata Sale, Tokyo, 17 May-4 July 1930, lot. 98 repr.; Horai-Shokusan & Co., Tokyo; Deposited in the NMWA, Tokyo, 1960; Purchased by the NMWA, 1973.

Exhibition History

1930
The 3rd Exhibition of the Matsukata Coll., Tokyo, 17 May 1930 - 4 June 1930, cat. no. 98, repr. (as the South-Russian icon after the 17th century)
1960
The Masterpieces of the Ex-Matsukata Collection, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 14 May 1960 - 10 July 1960, cat. no. 143(as the work of the 14th century)
1996
The Crossing Visions: European and Modern Japanese Art from the Collections of The National Museum of Western Art & The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 20 July 1996 - 8 September 1996, cat. no. 72

Bibliography

1960
Catalogue of the National Museum of Western Art. Tokyo, 1960, D-13, repr. (as the Italian work of the 14th century).
1961
Catalogue du Musée National d'Art Occidental, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1961 (Préface and Catalogue Général in Japanese and French), D-13 (as the work of the 14th century).
1974
Gazette des Beaux- Arts. ser. 6, tome 83, Feb. 1974, "Chronique des Arts", p. 202, no. 695, repr.
1974
Koshi, K. Über eine kretische Ikone des 15. Jahrhunderts von Andreas Ritzos im Nationalmuseum für Westliche Kunst in Tokyo. Bulletin Annuel du Musée National d’Art Occidental. No. 7 (1972), 1974 (Japanese text with german summary) , pp. 8-57, figs. 1, 2, 3, 12, 15, 18, 22.
1975
Les cent chefs-d'œuvre du Musée National d'Art Occidental. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1975 (Japanese), no. 1, repr.
1975
Bulletin Annuel du Musée National d’Art Occidental, No. 8 (1973), 1975, Nouvelles acquisitions, par Chisaburoh F. Yamada, p. 4. Nouvelles acquisitions (catalogue). pp. 8-9. repr.
1978
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1978 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 1, repr.
1979
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 242, repr.
1990
The Old Matsukata Collection. Kobe City Museum, ed. Kobe, "Matsukata Korekushon Ten" Jikkoiinkai, 1990, cat. no. 1290.
2006
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2006 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 1, col. repr.
2009
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2009, no. 1, col. repr.
2013
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 1, col. repr.
2018
The Matsukata Collection: Complete Catalogue of the European Art. Kawaguchi, Masako; Jingaoka, Megumi, eds. vol. 1: Paintings, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2018, cat. no. 932, col. repr.

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