MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions, 1 декабря 2011 г.

1 декабря 2011

Список художников / Полный каталог


NORTHERN RUSSIA, END OF THE 17TH TO BEGINNING OF THE 18TH CENTURY

* 524. A RARE ICON OF "THE PURE SOUL"

NORTHERN RUSSIA, END OF THE 17TH TO BEGINNING OF THE 18TH CENTURY

49 by 37.5 cm.
15,000-20,000 GBP


Allegorical depictions of Pure and Sinful Souls are known in Russian art from the latter half of the 16th century, often in illustrated manuscripts commemorating the dead (necrologies). Judging from the unusual white background, the artist replicated a miniature from a book.

The Pure Soul is depicted on the left as the Virgin in real attire and wearing a crown adorned with flowers. To her right is a lion (anger), a serpent (sin) and on the right, squatting naked in a cave, is the devil, symbolising the sinful soul. Christ enthroned in heaven above, awaits the worship of the Pure Soul and Guardian Angel. At the centre is the Sun with a human face and the border texts explain what is depicted.

In the 18th-19th centuries, edifying works about the Pure and Sinful Soul were in demand amongst Old Believers, both icons and printed sheets incorporated texts from either a necrology or the Blessed Monk Dorotheus's Thirty Great and Original Virtues, which formed part of the Tsvetnik (Flower-bed), a book widely popular with Old Believers. It is in the latter where the deep meaning of this edifying subject finds its fullest expression: “Human purity attaches man to God, and the purity of God dwells in man” (Tsvetnik of the Blessed Monk Dorotheus, Grodno, 1790, p. 187).

An important distinction of this icon is that the detailed border inscriptions bear no relation to either literary sources. Addressing the viewer — an extremely rare feature in an icon — the lower border reads: “See, O man, the parable of life painted here: if thou wilt ascend to the heavenly kingdom, then preserve thy purity of soul, otherwise thou shalt suffer eternal torment”.

Given the rarity of the subject and the detailed, original text, this icon is of considerable interest and belongs to a particular edifying type of Old Believer icon painting.


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.