AN EXCEPTIONAL RUSSIAN PRESENTATION ICON OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL AND SAINTS, CIRCLE OF CHIRIKOV, MOSCOW, CIRCA 1900. A finely painted icon of the highest quality depicting the New Testament Trinity at top above an image of the Pokrov Mother of God and below a gathering of six saints with the Guardian Angel at center. Identified by the inscriptions above their heads on the left are depicted the Holy Martyr Natalia, Saint Sergiy of Radonezh and the Holy Evstafiy (Eustace) Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch. On the right, The Holy Mary of Egypt and Saints Peter and Paul. The gilt background ornately incised and punched with a repeating cross-form pattern. The borders finely incised and painted with scrolling foliage and strapwork executed to simulate cloisonné enameling. The verso of icon with period dedicatory inscription "From the zealous officials and peasants of the Ascension, Resurrection, and Mekhovits districts who had this icon made for the provincial Governor of the Kovrov District Evstafiy Alekseyevich Lord Kishkin due to his honorable relationship with them and his service and fatherly love to them". The lower central margin bearing a likely later added inscription in Old Slavonic Painted by Iosif Sem. Chirikov in the year 1895. The overall quality of the offered icon is exceptional and it exhibits characteristics of those icons produced in the best Moscow workshops such has Chirikov, Gurianov, and Dikarev. Of particular note are the decorated haloes and the name plaques with distinctive lettering and shaded backgrounds. Also worthy of mention is the exceptional chrysography utilized to ornament the vestments, all typical of the popular icons produced in the Imperial workshops at the turn of the century, mostly in Moscow by iconographers trained in Palekh, Mstera, or Kholui and as found on icons painted by Chirikov. 17.75 inches x 14.75 inches (45 x 37.5 cm).
Eustace A. Kishkin (1846-1909) was a state councilor and county marshal of the nobility from the Vladimir Oblast. He was educated in Moscow and Yaroslavl and spent his life as a public servant primarily in and around Kovrov County as commissioner of peasant affairs, county marshal of the nobility, and finally as state councilor. He was the recipient of the Order of Saint Stanislaus (2nd and 3rd class) as well as the Order of St. Anna 3rd class. His name saint (Eustace) or Evstafiy as pronounced in Russian, is depicted immediately to the left of the Guardian Angel.