2 December 2009
NOVGOROD REGION, SECOND HALF OF THE 17TH CENTURY
71.5 by 52 cm.
This icon could have originally served as the patronal image of a small church, or perhaps as part of the Feasts Tier of a large iconostasis. The subject of the Protecting Veil appears in the Life of St Andrew the Holy Fool of Byzantium, compiled in the 9th century. It reports that during a vigil in the Blachernae church Andrew saw the Mother of God coming out of the Royal Doors, who took off her omaphorion and spread it over the people present in the church as a sign of her protection.
The icon is a version of a Novgorodian iconography of the scene. Its special compositional features are the Theotokos Oranta, situated within the church (rather than in front of it), the angels flying over her holding the vermilion omophorion, and the symmetrical groups of the intercessors (the holy hierarchs and the angels behind the altar). In the bottom left corner within vermilion arches there are images of the imperial saints Constantine and Helena, in the opposite corner is Andrew the Holy Fool with his disciple Epiphanius, pointing at the miracle. This icon reproduces an ancient iconographic scheme, because here, as in the old panels, the number of the interceding figures is reduced and the architectural forms are rather archaic, reminiscent of early 16th-century works. The same archaising elements are seen in its style, ostensibly imitating ancient examples.
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.