Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Finely executed in egg tempera, gold leaf, and gesso on linen on wood, a composite icon that depicts four religious scenes. From left to right on the upper section: Our Lady of Kazan (Mother of God modeled upon the original wonderworking Kazan 16th century prototype), the Birth of the Virgin, and Theotokos of Unexpected Joy (a sinner kneeling before an image of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ). Below these, a larger depiction of the Crucifixion. Size: 17.5" L x 15.125" W (44.4 cm x 38.4 cm)
While all of these icons tell impactful biblical stories, the Virgin of Unexpected Joy tells a particularly dramatic story. According to the Orthodox Church of America website, "The sinful youth, who was nevertheless devoted to the Theotokos, was praying one day before the icon of the All-Pure Virgin before going out to commit a sin. Suddenly, he saw that wounds appeared on the Lord's hands, feet, and side, and blood flowed from them. In horror he exclaimed, 'O Lady, who has done this?' The Mother of God replied, 'You and other sinners, because of your sins, crucify My Son anew.' Only then did he realize how great was the depth of his sinfulness. For a long time he prayed with tears to the All-Pure Mother of God and the Savior for mercy. Finally, he received the unexpected joy of the forgiveness of his sins." The Unexpected Joy icon is commemorated on January 25 and May 1.
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 J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired in July 2007; ex-Arthur W. Erickson, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
Expected surface wear with scuffs and losses commensurate with age. Age cracks and losses to wood at peripheries as shown. Icon was comprised of several joined panels as was customary. One can see demarcations between the panels, particularly on the verso. Back slats remain. Wired for suspension.