1 December 2010
NORTH WESTERN RUSSIA, END OF THE 16TH CENTURY TO CIRCA 1600
55 by 45.8 cm
Saint Nicholas, the Archbishop of Myra of the Lycians, is the most revered Saint of Rus, as proved by the sheer number of icons, including the hagiographic ones, which depict him. In the art of Old Rus, portrayals of the saint in half-length form were widespread, as represented by our icon. The saint’s right hand blesses the viewer, while the left, covered by his omophorion, holds the Gospels, betokening the saint’s respect for Holy Scripture. Certain features of this icon have an affinity with early depictions of the saint: the well-defined wrinkles on the forehead and cheeks and the eyes, moved down towards the bridge of the nose, which lends a severity to the face. The saint’s vestment is in a monotone, deep red ceremonial colour, whereas later 17th century icon painters were fond of rendering fabric with bright, decorative painting.
The figure of the saint is deftly disposed in the available space and with good proportions. The face is confidently modelled with fine, noble features. Quite frequently in the upper corners of the background, there would be depictions in roundels (in later versions clouds) of the Saviour proffering the Gospels to St Nicholas, and of the Mother of God returning his omophorion to him, reminiscent of the miracle at Nicea. In the case of the icon before us, there are no such additional features.
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.