27 May 2012
EARLY 20TH CENTURY, OIL ON PANEL, OKLADS STAMPED WITH MAKER’S
MARKS EU IN CYRILLIC, MOSCOW, 84 STANDARD .
18 by 14.5 cm each.
The two icons depicting the Pantocrator and the Theotokos and Child were produced in one of the Moscow workshops where the principles of academic religious painting were combined with the traditions of Old Russian icon painting. A special nobility is imparted to these images by the use of restrained, rather dark colours, with shades of dark green and deep burgundy dominant in the skilfully painted garments of the Pantocrator and Theotokos. The evidence that this pair of icons specifically commemorate a wedding is evident not only from the iconography, but also from the Gospel text of John, Chapter 13, verse 34: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you...”
The impressive oklads are of inimitable artistry. They were made by an as yet unidentified Moscow jeweller with the initials E.U., all of whose known work is distinguished by consummate craftsmanship, individuality and impeccable taste.
The artistic resolution of the oklads is achieved by combining a smooth background with restrained foliage ornamentation on the frame in the Neo-Russian style. This design is an accomplished stylisation of Old Russian decorative motifs, which were widely applied in the jeweller’s art at the turn of the century. Thus, there is every reason to regard these icons as outstanding examples of decorative applied art in the Russian style.
Apart from their undoubted artistic quality, these artefacts also now have a retrospective historical importance; being commissioned in 1914 and continuously preserved, they must have shared with their owners all of the tragic events of Russian history which followed.
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.