MacDougall Auctions 2-3 December 2009

2 Dec 2009

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


NORTHERN RUSSIA, LAST THIRD OF THE 17TH CENTURY

93. THE DEISIS

NORTHERN RUSSIA, LAST THIRD OF THE 17TH CENTURY

32 by 50 cm.
30,000-40,000 pounds



Icons depicting the three main figures of the Deisis were widely used in medieval Russia, particularly to decorate the small wooden churches of the North. Such horizontally-elongated images were regularly placed above the entrances to churches, refectories, and narthexes and over the Royal Doors. They were also hung on the wall in the altar space where they often acted as the only decoration and devotional image. One such icon could serve as a centre-piece for a wayside oratory designed as a place where pilgrims stopped and prayed. The rough finish of the icon-panel and the familiar style of unsophisticated painting (such as the limited palette using only two or three main colours, the fluid yet not very confident outlines and draperies of the robes, and the rendering of the faces over the main colour of the background) all argue eloquently in favour of the northern origin of the icon. Several unconventional features should be noted: the rather low three-quarter length of the figures (down to the knee) and the unusual angle of the Gospel book. Despite the simplicity of its painting, the icon wins the viewer over by the sincerity and innocence of the deeply devout faces typical of Russian provincial culture.


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.