List Price £9,500
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This Russian oil on panel icon depicts the Madonna and Child to the centre surrounded by five scenes of saints. The icon follows the Byzantine style of Russian Orthodox icons, which is abstracted and favours religious symbolism over naturalistic representation. Notable features of this style present in this 19th century icon are the golden halos worn by the figures and their angular facial features, as well as the prominent use of a gold ground. The panel is inscribed in Cyrillic, and this text identifies the saints depicted. The central text passage in the lower section of the composition identifies the icon as being made after a similar icon that was located in a monastery at Mount Athos, Greece, which was an important centre for the Russian Orthodox church. The text passages to the left and right of this are prayers.
Figures top row L-R: St. Spiridon; St. John the Apostle; the Madonna; Jesus Christ; St. John the Baptist; St. Nicholas
Figures bottom L-R: St. George; St. Anthony; St. Evfimy; St. Onuphrius; St. Sabbas the Sanctified; St. Demetrius
The market for Russian Orthodox style icons expanded in the 19th Century to include those that were broader symbols of traditional Russian art and historic, religious culture. However, due to the new invention mechanised lithography on paper and tin, 19th Century painted icons such as this one became rare and expensive.
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