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18th C. Russian Icon - Five Patronal Saints

$1,995.00
Eastern Europe, Russia, dated 1799 CE. A lovely icon depicting five patronal saints wearing vestments of red, green, and white hues beneath Christ Pantocrator - delineated in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood. Although there are traces of inscriptions, they are somewhat difficult to discern. The figure on the far right is a military saint; however, the others are trickier to identify as their dress is neither monastic, episcopal, nor royal. The bare feet of the figure on the left suggests that he may be an Apostle or a wandering missionary. The other three appear to be holy laymen. The inscription on the back is in pre-revolutionary orthography. The second line reads "I believe (in) Sophia and Christopher" - neither of whom is depicted. The fourth line reads "at [the house of] Egor Simeon". Egor is a form of George, who could be the military saint on the other side. The next line reads "We hang (it) at Torilsk (a place)" and the name Egor once again. The seventh and eighth lines read "I believe in (?) of Egor Simeon". Size: 11.375" L x 8.375" W (28.9 cm x 21.3 cm)

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: Surface wear with pigment and gold leaf losses. Areas of craquelure. Red and green linear borders show areas of repainting.

Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection acquired in The Dominican Republic over 20 years ago

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