101782 | RUSSIA. "Mother of God, Assuage My Sorrows" wooden Icon.
101782 | RUSSIA. "Mother of God, Assuage My Sorrows" wooden Icon. Made circa 1865-1885. (144mm x 177mm, 272.55 g).
Image of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) and Infant Christ, with with the former veiled, draped, and with head tilted toward the viewer and hand raised to head while benedicting, and with the latter holding open scroll inscribed with abbreviated passage from Zachariah 7:9-10; both wearing vibrant nimbus crowns; MHP – ΘУ in red above the Theotokos, IC – XC in red above the Infant Christ; all within rectangular border, with four saints (two to left and two to right) standing and draped: Sts. [...], Pyotr (Peter), Grigory (Gregory), and Alexandra; УТОЛИ МОѦ ПЄЧ ПРѢ БЦЫ in red below; all within black and red border—all of which is painted in tempera atop wood. Back and sides: Wood exposed, with some scattered scuffs and marks.
Extremely Fine. Slightly chipped at lower right corner; otherwise great paint quality, with just a few light spots rubbed or chipped. Very intricate paint detail, and an excellent work of art.
Please refer to the in-hand photo in order to get a more accurate sense of the size of this icon.
Following the conversion of the peoples of the Ancient Rus' (those in the eastern and northern portions of Europe) to Orthodox Christianity in the late 10th century, queues were taken from Byzantine art and iconography. As time progressed, and given the lack of more personal representations of religion, the practice in the emerging tsardom of Russia began to emulate the artistic traditions in western Europe within the Protestant and Catholic spheres. Thus, the Russian icon was born—a representation of one's religion and hopes, all in the form of a small-scale, craft-oriented image, usually done on wood and with the ability to venerate in one's house. The imagery would usually focus upon Christ or the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary), but could vary widely to other lesser-encountered saints and passages, even to those more native to the Orthodox church in the Russian dominion. The various images would generally be painted in tempera, a type of paint mixed with egg, and featured a gilt-infused background in order to elevate the flair and magnificence. Later additions to the practice would include a "protective" layer made out of tin, bronze, or silver known as an "oklad" or "riza," allowing both the image beneath to be somewhat protected along with the oklad itself to be further adorned and embellished by the silversmith–adding to the majesty and dazzling nature of the icon.
The origins of the icon for the "Mother of God, Assuage My Sorrows" reside with a painting created in the mid-17th century during a Russian skirmish against the Poles. In the image, the Virgin is presented with her hand bent toward her temple in an act of understanding, while the Infant Christ holds a scroll which reads, sometimes in an abbreviated fashion, "...judge righteously; each show mercy to one another; do not offend widows and orphans, and do not keep malice in your heart towards your brother." It has since grown to one of the more popular and well-represented icons throughout Russia.
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