A LARGE AND FINE RUSSIAN DOUBLE SIDED ICON OF THE HODIGITRIA MOTHER OF GOD, AND SAINT NICHOLAS, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY. Here Mary holds her infant son Christ who delivers a blessing and holds a scroll. She gestures towards her son with her right hand directing the viewer to the source of salvation hence the title "Hodigitria" roughly translated from the Greek as "Way-Shower" or "Guide". Executed in the traditional old style, the light blue chiton of the Virgin is covered with a burgundy-purple maphorion decorated with three stars symbolizing her virginity. The borders and background are decorated with incised silver strips (basma). The heads of the Virgin and Christ are encircled with an ornate silver-gilt repousse and chased haloes displaying angels, seraphim and flowers. Suspended from the halo is a similarly decorated silver tsata repoussed with the Old Testament Trinity amidst large flower heads. The halo and tsata likely Yaroslavl although unmarked. The reverse of the icon with an 18th century standard image of St. Nicholas, however with no embellishments. 23.5 inches x 18.5 inches. (60 x 47 cm).
Windows Into Heaven, Russian icons 1650-1917, Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, exhibition catalog, plate 9 page 13 illustrated.
Washington D.C., Windows Into Heaven, Russian Icons 1650-1917, Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, June 5th-August 17th, 2003.
For a related halo and tsata see: 1000 Years of Russian Art, Schloss Gottorf Publishing, Hamburg, Germany 1998, plates 325 and 328, page 234 illustrated and attributed to Yaroslavl, 17th century.