2 December 2009
ROSTOV REGION, 1590 TO CIRCA 1600
44 by 36 cm.
This icon is remarkable because of its unusual composition: the low position of the aura surrounding the ascending Christ, supported by two angels; the dense crowd of six disciples, with the young apostle Thomas taking the place traditionally assigned to St Paul; the Mother of God looking to the left, as if addressing St Peter, who is turned towards the Virgin instead of the Saviour. Another notable feature of the scene is the depiction of Christ’s footprints in a golden radiance, appearing on the mountain. This refers to a famous relic of the imprints of Christ’s feet in the rock on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, well-known from medieval pilgrims’ accounts.
Such an unusual interpretation of the subject, as well as the relatively modest dimensions of the icon (suggesting that it used to be a part of the Feasts Tier within a small iconostasis, perhaps for a private chapel) is typical of the art produced during the reign of Boris Godunov (1598-1605). The icons from that period are remarkable for their smaller, human-scale size, more suited to private devotion than the larger works from previous periods. The style, the technique, and the palette of this icon suggests the work of a master from the Rostov or Vladimir regions.
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.