**Originally Listed At $1200**
Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. late 19th century CE. Finely delineated in egg tempera, gesso, and gold leaf on wood, a religious icon venerating John the Baptist. The composition of this image flows in a wonderful rhythm that tells the narrative - from the right depicting King Herod who has just beheaded John the Baptist, his golden sword directed toward John the Baptist's kneeling beheaded body, John the Baptist's head on a golden platter to be presented to the king's daughter Salome who stands before a doorway to her opulent abode with her father. Surrounding the scene is a golden border. Size: 11.75" L x 8.875" W (29.8 cm x 22.5 cm)
According to the Bible, King Herod's daughter Salome requested Saint John the Baptist's beheading. The heinous act was prompted by her mother, Herodias, who sought revenge, because the prophet had condemned her incestuous marriage to Herod. Also referred to as the Angel of the Desert (because he was a preacher and hermit in the southern desert of Judea), the forerunner of Christ, the last of the Old Testament prophets, and the first saint, John the Baptist is one of the most popular and venerated figures in Orthodox hagiography. Depicted next to Christ and his mother, John the Baptist also occupies a coveted position in the Deesis tier of the iconostasis.
Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."
Provenance: private West Palm Beach, Florida, USA collection
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Expected surface wear with abrasions and scratches/losses to painted gesso, inscription at the top, and gilding as shown.