8 June 2009
RUSSIAN (NOVGOROD), FIRST HALF OF THE XVII CENTURY
145.6 by 122 cm.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, Icona. Volto del Mistero, Milan, 1991, p. 120.
This monumental icon visualises in detail the text of Revelation. It begins with the Preparation of the Throne in the centre of the composition, where the Instruments of the Passion and the closed Gospels are placed on an altar attended by two angels and groups of saints.
Above, Christ the Saviour is shown on a throne supported by fiery wheels descending from Heaven flanked by His Mother and John the Baptist in supplication. To the left and right the Apostles are portrayed seated, each holding an open Book. The rows behind depict holy figures and crowds of angels. The upper part of the panel illustrates scenes of paradise; to the left is the celestial banquet, to the right, are two angels unfurling the deep blue skies that include the sun and the moon. Below, against a series of circular glories, there is a visual narrative of God the Father sending His Son for a second time to earth in order “to judge the living and the dead” as promised in the Nicene Creed. The lower half of the icon depicts Hell; it is dominated by a large snake, the personification of the Devil, bearing rings, each representing a sin, and angels with spears that push the sinners to chastisement and torture; to the left and right of this central composition, two vertical arrangements show respectively the ascent of Just Monks to Paradise and the expulsion of sinners to the fiery fields of Hell and the mouth of the multi-headed, devouring beast. The icon is meticulously rendered with deep colours, the scenes on the upper part are structured around clusters of swirling clouds, the ochre background is inscribed with the text of the Apocalypse.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.