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Late 19th C. Russian Icon - Joy of All Who Suffer

$1,695.00
Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. late 19th century CE. Beautifully delineated in egg tempera and gold leaf atop gesso and linen on wood, a Russian icon depicting the blessed Virgin Mary with suffering supplicants asking for her intercession as well as angels to either side. She stands on a circular platform with a small coronal halo, surrounded by floating coins, and an image of her son Jesus Christ giving benediction above her. A story tells that after a St. Petersburg fire in 1888, an icon bearing the image of "The Joy of All Who Suffer" was not only intact, but Mary's face had been untouched. Twelve coins from the offering box had stuck themselves to the icon, thus giving meaning to the coins surrounding Mary's depiction; a new feast on August 5th commemorates this miracle. The title of this piece comes from a miracle-working icon known by the same name "The Joy of All Who Sorrow" (sometimes "The Joy of All Who Suffer"), and a lengthy Cyrillic inscription sits below the obverse imagery telling the story of the miracle. Size: 6.625" W x 8.55" H (16.8 cm x 21.7 cm).

The icon that served as inspiration for this example was first believed to create a miracle in the year 1688. A woman named Evfimiya, who was the sister of Patriarch Loachim, suffered from an incurable disease. One day as she was praying, Evfimiya heard a voice who proclaimed, “Evfimiya! Go to the Church of the Transfiguration of my son." There is the image called “Joy of All Who Suffer” at the church in Moscow where Evfimiy lived. She listened and followed the instructions of the mysterious voice and soon was cured.

Icons were some of the first religious artworks brought to Russia from Byzantium. These sacred pictures of the Greek Orthodox church reached a high point in the Byzantine era, however, the Russians brought their own style to the art of the icon. Icons were initially created for use in churches and processions. In time they became smaller and were used increasingly within households. To this day they remain an important form of visual culture in Russia's orthodox religious community.

Condition: Wear and minor losses around peripheries as shown. Expected fading and scuffs to surface pigments, nice areas of craquelure, small area of warping near bottom of Mary's feet, and minor fraying to linen edges. Small chips and losses to wood. Two small metal screws and a braided metal suspension wire on verso.

Provenance: ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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