8 June 2011
NOVGOROD, MID 16TH CENTURY.
73 by 67 cm.
By the middle of the 16th century, new qualities had appeared in the icon painting of Novgorod: a refinement of the images, a gentler, smoother portrayal of the contours of the faces, a complexity of graphical concept and execution, a richness of tone and diversity of hue. Line played a leading role, the sensitivity with which the folds in clothing were depicted and the semi-transparent colours, all become component parts of the evolving artistic language.
The large expressive face, the general monumental effect and the picturesque power of the colours compel us to attribute this icon of King Solomon with some certainty to this same mid 16th century period and tradition. The icon of King Solomon once belonged to a half-length Prophets tier (or row) of the iconostasis and traditionally was positioned in the middle of the row, to the right of the “Mother of God of the Sign” image. There are other works resembling our icon by Novgorodian masters and which are held in the Moscow Kremlin: the “Mother of God and Infant Enthroned with Prophets David and Solomon”, circa 1560s (Cathedral of the Annunciation); “It Is Truly Meet”, circa 1559-1560 (previously in the Solovetsky Monastery); the “Vision of the Prophet Ezekiel by the River Chebar” dated to the second half of the 16th century (previously in the vestry of the Solovetsky Monastery); and the “Bogolyubskaya Mother of God with Sabbatius and Zosima”, dated to 1545 (previously in the Solovetsky Monastery).
Notes on symbols:
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