MacDougall Auctions 2-3 December 2009

2 Dec 2009

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


CENTRAL RUSSIA, EARLY 18TH CENTURY

96. A RARE TRAVELLING ICONOSTASIS IN FOURTEEN FOLDS

CENTRAL RUSSIA, EARLY 18TH CENTURY

Closed 17.5 by 9.7 by 8.5 cm., extended 17.5 by 77.5 cm.
40,000-60,000 pounds



Related literature: For similar icons, see A. Rybakov, The Icons of Vologda. Artistic Culture of the Vologda Region in the 13th-18th centuries,
Moscow, 1995, cat. no. 75, 78.

This is a unique example of a complete multipartite travelling iconostasis. The arrangement of fourteen folding panels, joined together to form one entity, includes all the main tiers of the high Russian iconostasis: the Deisis Tier with the image of Christ in Majesty, the Church Feasts Tier with fifteen of the most important Orthodox festivals of liturgical year, the Prophetic Tier with the Mother of God of Incarnation as its central piece, and the Forefathers Tier with the Lord of Sabaoth in the middle. Such miniature iconostases, also called “travelling churches” in the old times, were widespread in medieval Russia. They were used to decorate private chapels (particularly popular from the reign of Boris Godunov onwards), oratories, hermitages, and monastic cells. Travelling iconostases were often commissioned by hierarchs to transform a chamber into a private praying space. Uniting all the main icons of a large church and thus symbolically likened to it, such items could at the same time be compactly folded and put in a small casket. They could therefore be easily set up on portable altars to be used for divine services, communal prayers, and even liturgies during journeys, military campaigns, and Episcopal visits. Episcopal ownership of such icons is attested to through inscriptions, such as one found on the 1589 iconostasis of Jonah the Archbishop of Vologda from the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. The content and the chronological sequence of the feasts in this iconostasis are also very interesting: along with Christological feasts, they include those celebrating the Mother of God and the Elevation of the Cross.


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.