2 December 2009
PSKOV, CIRCA 1600 TO EARLY 17TH CENTURY
78 by 61 cm.
This icon is a very rare example of late Pskov icon-painting from the turn of the 17th century, very few of which survive to the present day. Judging by its size, it must have originated from the Feasts Tier of a rather large church iconostasis. The unusually complicated version of Resurrection–Descent into Hell iconography represented in this panel was formed in Pskov art in the third quarter of the 16th century, making this icon amongst the earliest with such a composition. Unlike 17th century icons, emphasising the Resurrection scene, this one pays special attention to the traditional image of the Descent into Hell, whereas the Christ Rising from the Tomb episode is placed in the lower right corner, with its figures deliberately enlarged. The dense crowd of the sleeping guards and the large round stone that according to the Gospel covered the entrance to the Tomb are contrasted with the group of the Righteous clad in white, who rise from the Shadow of Death with their arms outstretched towards the Saviour.
The motif of the rising from the dead is repeated four times in this icon: it defined the tense emotional atmosphere of the image, typical for the culture of Pskov. The iconography of the panel reproduces the most characteristic Pskovian features, such as the stable triangle formed by the figures of Adam and Eve, placed symmetrically on either side of Christ, and the large number of prophets and forefathers, here shown with haloes, as well as the almond-shaped mandorla. The artistic features of a Pskovian master are very recognisable: he traditionally employs the palette favoured in this region and models the faces using dark brown earth colours. However, both iconography of the panel and its style already demonstrate the new aesthetic principles of the approaching 17th century.
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.