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I painted this image of Christ called Christ of Sinai last year. It was so beautiful I decided to make prints out of it.

The meaning - The central theme of Christ Pantocrator is Christ's dual nature as the Son of God and Son of Man. It is taught in a very subtle manner through his asymmetrical face. His hair is parted on his right side and lays on his left shoulder. His beard is combed the opposite direction of his hair while his left eyebrow is a little raised. The left side of his moustache also droops down further than the right. In addition, many Christ Pantocrator icons give him two strands of hair laying on his forehead, contributing again to this theme of his two natures. These details may sound too subtle, but if one covers up one half of the face and looks at the other, then vice versa, a shocking disparity is easily observed.
One fascinating aspect of Christ Pantocrator is Christ's eyes. In some versions, like the one at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai, his right pupil is higher than his left. This has two possible meanings. For one, it may just be another instance of asymmetry for the purpose of depicting Christ's dual natures. Alternately, the right pupils position makes him appear to be gazing dispassionately into the distance, while the left stares more at the viewer. This could be an indication of Christ's justice and mercy. His staring eye says he is the Judge who identifies the sins of human beings, but the other eye, gazing away, indicates his mercy in overlooking the sins of those who repent.
In general, the eyes of people in icons gaze into the distance, giving them an effect of aloofness and timelessness, a pictorial expression of the divine nature. In Christ Pantocrator this effect of aloofness is added to by the way Christ is far removed from the background.
Another symbol which only appears in some versions of Christ Pantocrator is the specific size of his eyes and mouth. In these, Christ's ears are large but his mouth is small. This signifies that he hears everything but that he only speaks words of holy Wisdom.
Besides these subtle symbols, Christ Pantocrator features several overt ones. His right hand is in the position of giving a blessing, with his ring and pinky fingers reaching across to touch his thumb. His other hand holds a very ornate book of the four gospels like those actually used in the Orthodox divine liturgy of the time. The cover of the book has a cross on it, reminding Christians of Christ's atoning and sacrificial death, as well as the need for them to imitate him in carrying their own crosses. His purple robe gives him a royal dignity.
Later versions of Christ Pantocrator also contain the letters IC XC, which are the first and last letters of Jesus; and Christ in Greek, with sigma being rendered as (The Holy Name of JESUS). Finally, Christ has a halo, indicating his holiness and importance. The halo has another cross in it, which in iconography helps to distinguish him from saints.

Christ of Sinai Icon Print 16x20

$49.00 USD
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  • Handmade item
  • Material: original art
  • Only ships to United States from California, United States.
  • Feedback: 22 reviews
  • Favorited by: 5 people