Painting

Portable Cross

Portable Cross
(click image to zoom-in)
Painting, Tempera and gilding on panel, 172x65 cm
Origin: Russia, 15th - early 16th century

The form of this two-sided portable cross was very common in 15th-century Rus, and its images are also traditional. The bright colours recall Novogorod painting but the simplified drawing and the tendency towards a decorative approach indicate that this is the work of a northern Russian master of the 15th or early 16th century.

In the centre front is a roundel with the Saviour and on the ends of the cross are the Virgin and St John the Baptist, turned towards Christ in a gesture of prayer. On the ends of the vertical bar are the Archangel Michael and the Archangel Gabriel.

All the figures on the back are waist length and face outward. In the centre is St Nicholas, on the horizontal ends Saints Dmitry and George, on the vertical ends Saints John the Almsgiver and Parasceva Pyatnitsa.

The haloes are gilded, the backgrounds of the scenes and projecting parts of the cross are red, and there are yellow borders around the crossbars. The background of the crossbars is reddish-brown with ornamentation in the form of white rhomboid hatching.

Personage: Christ
Source of entry: State Hermitage Expedition, Arkhangelsk Region, 1957
School: North Russian Schools
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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