MacDougall Auctions 2-3 December 2009

2 Dec 2009

Artist Index / Full Catalogue




58.5 by 37.5 cm.
35,000-45,000 pounds

This icon was originally included in the Feasts Tier of an iconostasis and, judging by its size and proportions, must have been intended as a two-tiered icon, combining both the Feasts and the Deisis Tiers on one panel. Its composition is close to Novgorodian examples from the first half of the 16th century, outline patterns of which were widely used by icon-painters from other regions of Russia in later periods. A number of features testify to the provincial origin of this work and to its late 16th-century date: its dense olive background, muted palette of russet, burnt sienna, broken blue and green colours, fluid drawing only roughly outlining the shapes and folds, as well as the simplified painting technique using brown under-painting and white strokes.

The suggestion that the composition was copied from an earlier exemplum is confirmed by the depiction of a dark stone hidden behind the summit of the mountain: this is a reference to the relic from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, displaying Christ’s footprints, miraculously imprinted on the rock. The image of the footprints is absent from the icon, which demonstrates that the copyist misunderstood the iconography of the original painting. Such two-tier iconostases were widespread in the late 16th to early 17th centuries in the Novgorod and Vologda regions and within the territory of the present Leningrad region. The figures and the composition of the icon, demonstrating heart-felt affection and spontaneity, are also characteristic of the more distant regions of Russia.

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.