2 Dec 2009
ST PETERSBURG, CIRCA 1750s
39 by 31.5 cm.
Related literature: For similar works see Religious Petersburg, St Petersburg, 2004, pp. 477, 500.
This icon is unique due to its rare state of preservation, its subject, and its high artistic level, and is therefore of museum importance. It was painted by metropolitan masters for a church in St Petersburg. Judging by the specific pairing of St John the Warrior and the Venerable Anna of Kashin, depicted praying in front of the rarely found image of the Conception of John the Baptist within a baroque cartouche, this icon was a commissioned for a church or a side-chapel dedicated to this feast. It is interesting that at the time the icon was painted, Anna of Kashin had already been de-canonised (in 1677) and no official veneration of her existed; hence the patron of this icon must have had important personal reasons to include her.
It is possible that the female commissioner’s choice was due to the fact that Anna of Kashin was of noble birth and that both saints were linked with the name of the Empress Anna Ioannovna, during whose reign the icon was painted. It is notable that during these years an outburst of miracles were recorded in connection with the relics of Anna of Kashin. The icon of the Conception of St Anna (in the collection of the State Russian Museum), similar to the present item in the choice of the subject and in the artistic technique, previously belonged to Countess Anna Matyushina and was kept in her private chapel. The artistic style of the icon is characteristic of many works used to decorate the churches of St Petersburg. It combined the traditions of late Armoury icon-painting as well as oil-painting, as indicated in the style of the faces and the landscaped background, influenced by Western European masters.
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.