The Holy Forty Martyrs

Type: Icon

Period: The middle of the 19 century

Author: Unknown

School: Bansko Iconographic School

Dimmensions (cm): 40 / 32


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Sofia

Town: Sofia

Museum: National History Museum


Country: Bulgaria

Other source: Others

Object identification notes

The colours, typical of the Bansko school, are rich in undertones. Gold is used for itself, as an independent colour component, lending certain festivity and further enhancing the brightness of the icon.


The forty martyr soldiers are depicted in full height, standing naked in the cold lake. To the right is the hot bath. At the foreground, in the two corners are the seated guards, who are sleeping, wrapped in their cloaks. In general, the composition follows old iconographic patterns, but the figures have volume and are depicted in dynamic poses; the landscape is a multiplane one. Some interesting details are included to elaborate on the story. The icon lacks the static austerity and schematic formula of the classical icon.

Iconographical technique: Tempera

Тhe frame of the icon is decorated in black and gilt. The background is gilt.

Base material: Wood

State, restoration traces and comments

The inscriptions are in Bulgarian.