Icon: Laudation of the Virgin, with an Acathistus

Icon: Laudation of the Virgin, with an Acathistus
(click image to zoom-in)
Painting, Tempera on panel and gilding, 33.7x31 cm
Origin: Russia, 16th century

At the centre of this 16th-century Moscow work is the Virgin enthroned, with above her Christ Emmanuel, his hands spread in blessing. Surrounding them are thirty prophets holding unfurled scrolls. Around the edge are 16 scenes with the kondaks and ikos of the Acathistus of the Virgin, an Acathistus being a liturgical song in praise of Christ, the Virgin or the saints, consisting of 25 separate sung elements, 13 kondaks and 12 ikos.

Russian icons on this theme are few and mainly date to the 16th century, like this example. It does not illustrate the full cycle of songs and the absence of inscriptions makes it difficult to precisely identify each individual scene.

The painting itself - the colour and treatment of form - and the drawing of the fine silver layer which covers part of the icon are typical of 16th-century Moscow works.

Personage: The Mother of God
Source of entry: Purchasing Commission of the Experts of the State Hermitage Museum, 1977
School: Moscow
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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