1 December 2011
OLOVYANISHNIKOV & SONS MANUFACTORY, 1908-1914, OKLAD STAMPED WITH MAKER'S MARK OF IVAN BUTUZOV IN CYRILLIC, MOSCOW, 84 STANDARD
Extended 40.5 by 49 cm, closed 40.5 by 27.5 cm.
Related literature: For similar icons, see A.K. Lazuko, Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov, Leningrad, 1990, p. 55.
Museum Catalogue, Russkiy Stil’: Sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Istoricheskogo Muzeya (Russian Style: Collection of the State History Museum), Moscow, 1998, p. 103, cat. 225.
The folding triptych is an outstanding early 20th century work in the Art Nouveau style, and associated with three names that brought about a revolution in Russian ecclesiastical art.
The icon of the Mother of God at the centre of the triptych reproduces an image painted in 1887 by the renowned Russian artist V.M. Vasnetsov (1848-1926) for the apse of St. Vladimir’s athedral, Kiev. The depiction of Sergei of Radonezh on the right-hand panel also reproduces an 1882 icon by Vasnetsov for the Church of the Vernicle on S.I. Mamontov’s Abramtsevo estate. The “Venerable Sergei of Radonezh” icon in the Sovereign tier referred both to Abramtsevo’s geographical proximity to the Trinity Sergiev Lavra and the aesthetic preferences of artists in Mamontov’s circle. The icons at Abramtsevo were the first in the history of the Orthodox Church to be painted in a realist manner and anticipated Vasnetsov’s work at St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev. The third panel depicts the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, canonised in 1903.
The carved oak frame was designed by S.I. Vashkov, chief artist at the firm of “P.I. Olovyanishnikov & Sons”. The closest comparable carved oak frame is that of the “Mother of God of the Sign” icon from the 1900s collection in the State History Museum. Sergei Ivanovich Vashkov (1879-1914) was an architect, artist and famous master of applied decorative religious art. His work attracted the attention of the well-known Moscow church plate manufacturers, Olovyanishnikov & Sons.
From 1910 to 1914, Vashkov was the artistic manager at the Olovyanishnikov factory, devoting himself to creating genuinely artistic church plate. The role played in his creative development by Vasnetsov was huge, and the young artist regarded himself as Vasnetsov’s pupil. Combining old Russian and early Christian motifs, the artist developed his own distinctive threedimensional language to give medieval forms a new interpretation and link Vashkov’s name with a genuine revival in Russian ecclesiastical art. Through the Olovyanishnikovs’ close cooperation with the eminent artist, their firm became one of the early 20th century’s leading producers of decorative and applied art.
The folding triptych, whose story involves Vasnetsov, Vashkov and the Olovyanishnikovs, is a unique, vibrant work, exemplifying the diverse facets of the Art Nouveau era in Russia.
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.