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Exhibited 19th C. Russian Icon - 40 Martyrs of Sebaste

Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Icons presenting imagery of mass martyrdoms are rare. Perhaps the most famous of these tragic stories is the Martyrs of Sebaste depicted on this example and housed in a glass-fronted, wood kiot. The composition is expertly painted in egg tempera and gold leaf with the utmost artistry, its rich jewel tones and shimmering gilt paying homage to the martyrs. Size: 8.5" W x 9.75" H (21.6 cm x 24.8 cm)

The backstory behind the iconography of this scene is as follows. Forty Roman legionnaires refused to renounce their faith. As a consequence, Emperor Licinius ordered these Christian soldiers to be exposed naked on a frozen lake near Sebaste, where they eventually froze to death. In this example, the artist poignantly captures the martyrs

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