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Question
I have a on-heavy-wood painting of a bearded priest/minister/etc.
He is holding a book or bible in one hand, the other hand is making
some kind of sign using his 5 fingers. The only writings are as:

It looks like the artists name could be: C. Whico (best guess); to the
right of that are the 6 characters: lamda alpha epsilon 4 1 0
I cant be positive of the alpha it is written a bit strange! Maybe this
is saying it is the year 410 AD?

It could be something to do with Greek Orthodox Church related,
again guessing.    I think the word WHICO could be Greek for
the English word "which"  which (pardon pun) wouldnt make a
lot of sense or maybe it does!?

I may try to have it scanned into a PC file (.jpg .gif etc.) that would
probably help, IF it scans and comes out!

Any thoughts?
Or perhaps u know of another expert can help me?
thanx    bob mackey      binarybob@verizon.net

(trying mainly to determine artist and about
 how old it is)  

Answer
Dear Bob,

I hope you are doing well. It appears from your description that you have a Greek Icon painting. Without viewing the painting, I cannot tell you if it is an image of Jesus or one of the Saints. The book is indeed representative of the bible and the hand gesture is probably an early sign for the cross.

The writing with the numbers 410 may be referring to a particular passage in the bible or a prayer as all icons start with a "story".

There is usually a gold background on the painting, but not always. If not gold, there will be a light colored background. Icons are deeply religious works and if this is a true icon, there will be no artist signature or name on the painting. That would give too much "self" to the artist rather than the reverence of the story the image is conveying.

Is there anything written on the back? Writings on the painting itself are usually words or references to scripture, as I mentioned above. One would not presume to put words into the mouths of Jesus or a Saint. Icons are firstly sacramental and secondly art. It is likely you may never know who painted,(written), your image, but if you can send me photos I might be able to determine if it is indeed Greek and maybe the time period. However, there are modern iconographers who stylize after older work.

Please feel free to contact one of the other experts. They may have more experience with icon paintings and be able to give you more information. You may also try contacting a modern iconographer who could decipher your painting. I have listed contact information for one such iconographer below. He works with Russian icons, but he is very knowledgeable about the field including Greek images. You may also want to visit www.iconsexplained.com to see if you can classify your painting.

I would like to see an image so if you can photograph it and load onto your computer, you can email it to: dolly12@aol.com, I will see if I can give you more information.

Best regards,
Dolly

Marek Czarnecki
Seraphic Restorations
464 Pratt Street Extension
Meriden, CT 06450
203-238-7553

Email: marek@seraphicrestorations.com

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Dolly D Headley

Expertise

I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.

Experience

Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at www.headleyfineart.com since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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Member of the Association of Online Appraisers.

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The Fine Art Collectors News

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science; Self taught with thousands of hours research and retail gallery consulting. Personalized mentorship from various experts in the industry.

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