2 December 2009
MAKER'S MARK OF THE FIRST MOSCOW ARTEL IN CYRILLIC, 1909
32 by 26.5 cm.
This icon, depicting the most famous and venerated holy relics of Moscow, the Mother of God of Vladimir, the reliable protector and patroness of the Russian State from all enemy attacks, and the leader in the battle, was presented to a certain Petr Astakhov, sub-ensign of the artillery division, by his comrades-in-arms to commemorate their service together. The presentation inscription is engraved on a metal plate, attached to the reverse of the icon: “To Petr Astakhov, Sub-Ensign of the 2nd squadron, the 4th gun of the Artillery Division, from the commander, the officers, and the privates to commemorate their military service together between 1901 and 1909”. The hallmarks on the oklad and the inscription on the reverse allow us to date the icon to 1909, as both the icon and the oklad were created at the same time.
The style of the painting, commissioned by one of the leading Moscow studios, is characteristic of the period, as demonstrated by the naturalistic rendering of the faces, the rich gold shading of the robes, the decoration of the precious oklad, covering only the icon’s background and the margins. The golden assists of the robes are harmoniously echoed by the gilding of the gadrooned background, imitating the ancient patterns of thin basma. The main artistic effect of the oklad lies in its decoration with multicoloured enamels over filigree, varying the tender colours of blue, pink, and green over the white background of the haloes and the borders. The richness and the high professional level of the precious oklad are seen in the masterly use of almost all known enamelling techniques: over the filigree work, champlevé, cloisonné and over convex surfaces – which was particularly complicated. The fine skill of the enameller is also seen in the clear luminosity of the ruby colours, which required inlays of golden foil pieces.
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.