1 December 2010
END OF THE 19TH TO BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY, MAKER'S MARK OF ZAKHAROV BROTHERS, MOSCOW
35.6 by 31.1 cm
The icon of the Feodorovskaya Mother of God was known in Rus since the 12th century. According to legend, the miracle-working icon appeared to Prince Vasily Yaroslavich Kostromsky in a forest in 1239 and was taken to the church of St Feodor [Theodore] Stratilates in Kostroma, thus receiving its name. The icon protected Kostroma from Tatar invasion, witnessed the “pleading” in 1613 for Mikhail Feodorovich to become tsar.
The oklad is the work of the famous Moscow jewellers, the brothers Sergei and Vasily Zakharov, who made gold and silver artefacts between 1896 and1905 in a factory attached to their mother’s trading house, called Zakharova & Sons. There are works by the brothers in the State Historical Museum.
By tradition oklads with enamelled haloes and plaques were in popular demand amongst the nobility and enlightened merchant class, the imperial household was also keen to acquire and commission them. This work demanded a high degree of professional skill and special technical equipment. The riza has plaques bearing the icon’s name, four corner panels and haloes with painted enamelling. The palette used for the enamelled elements is extraordinarily rich and borrows patterns from 17th century masters from the Usolye district. The whole surface of the riza is covered with an ornamental pattern, the intertwined flowers on the borders are an original creation and have never been repeated. The robe of the Theotokos is sewn with various sized fresh-water pearls and set with green semi-precious stones.
The icon was painted by a good artist, incorporating the hallmarks of Moscow icon painting at the time: careful attention to detail in the drawing, well-handled contrasts between light and dark areas and fine blending of the faces.
The reverse of the icon is covered with expensive brocade fabric from P.I. Olovyanishnikov & Sons. All the elements we have noted tell us this icon was specially commissioned. It is probable that the icon was intended as a gift for those with a deep appreciation of the Christian art of Russia, perhaps even the Imperial family, since the image of the Feodorovskaya Mother of God was the protectress of the House of Romanov.
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.