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Exhibited 19th C. Russian Icon - Saint George / Dragon

Russia, ca. 19th century CE. In this icon, delineated in egg tempera and gilt on wood, Saint George is shown atop a white steed plunging his lance into the dragon beneath him. The Princess Elisaba stands at the doorstep of a building. Framing the composition is an ornate silver basma featuring floral repousse decoration and twelve medallions inscribed in Cyrillic. Size: 17.75" W x 20.75" H (45.1 cm x 52.7 cm)

Saint George was born in Lydda in Palestine during the 3rd century. He became an officer in the Roman army in the guard of Emperor Diocletian, demonstrating impressive skill in battle and receiving high honor for his courage. When he learned that Diocletian was preparing to persecute Christians, George presented himself publicly before the emperor and denounced him. The legend of “Saint George and the Dragon,” which originated in the 12th century, has immortalized the saint. However, this anecdote is rarely presented in iconography. According to tradition, St. George came to Silene in the province of Libya, where a ravaging dragon demanded daily sacrifice. Fate chose the king’s daughter, Elisaba, but George subdued the beast. He told the princess to fasten her sash about the dragon’s neck so it could be led through the town for conversion of the people before it was killed.

Exhibited in "Windows Into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art" at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina (December 20, 2003 through February 22, 2004) and the North Carolina Museum of History (October 4, 2013 through March 5, 2014) which presented highlights of one of the world's great artistic traditions through an extraordinary group of sixty-five 18th and 19th century Russian icons on loan from the private collection of Lilly and Francis Robicsek. Published in the catalogue accompanying the North Carolina Museum of History exhibition by curator Jeanne Marie Warzeski (p. 17).

Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Some icons are encased in precious metal covers (oklads) adorned with pearls and semi-precious stones or glass-fronted wooden cases (kiots). This icon is embellished with a striking silver basma finely detailed in floral repousse and twelve medallions inscribed in Cyrillic. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."

The “Windows Into Heaven” exhibition profiled a magnificent chapter of Russian artistry, the embrace of the Russian Orthodox faith of religious icons during the Romanov centuries. The Russian religious faith was an offshoot of Byzantine Christianity, which in 1054 parted ways from Roman Catholicism. Icons were and continue to be religious images created for veneration. As a focus for prayers and meditation for believers, icons serve as “windows into heaven.”

Provenance :Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC

Condition: Painted image shows beautiful craquelure and minor, near invisible losses to pigments. Silver basma / frame shows expected tarnish, someAll items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience. bending, and a few small fissures. Verso shows stable age cracks, some gapping around back slat, perforations/losses at upper end, a few minor losses at lower end, inventory label, and wire for suspension.


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