1 декабря 2010
NORTHERN RUSSIA, MID 17TH CENTURY
56.5 by 44cm
The icon’s iconography refers to a Byzantine depiction and is based on canonical and non-canonical gospel and liturgical texts.
The iconography of this Nativity is called ‘Novgorodskaya’ because the Mother of God faces left towards the Magi who are depicted beside, her bearing their gifts, instead of being shown arriving or departing.
The centre of the icon depicts the Star of Bethlehem shining over the Theotokos and Infant Christ in his crib, along with the ox, ass and Magi bearing gifts. Mountains fill the panel and in the upper corners are two angels, one points to the star, while the other stoops, also pointing, as he tells the good news to the shepherd blowing a horn. In the lower part of the icon, Joseph is seated before an unidentified character and Salome washes the Infant.
The composition of the icon is simultaneously simple and solemn with no unnecessary detail. The movement of the figures is dictated by the calm rhythm, full of the grandeur of the event taking place. The accent is on the quiet spiritual sufferings of the characters.
Notes on symbols:
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