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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Large Russian Virgin of Vladimir Icon

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LOT 0414

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,780 - 8,090
USD ($) 6,350 - 8,890

Opening Bid
£2,500 (EUR 2,889; USD 3,174) (+bp*)

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Bids: 0
CIRCA 1860 A.D.
22 1/4 x 18 1/8 in. (6.5 kg, 56.5 x 46 cm).

Depicting nimbate Mary Theotokos with veiled head and wearing a maphorion mantle over a dark blue robe with gold cuffs, inclined towards the infant Jesus supported by her right hand, his left arm wrapped around her neck and the right hand resting on her chest; gilt field and border with colourful enamelled detailing to the corners, roundels and rectangles with monograms and titling, on each side of her head 'ΜΡ ΘΥ' (Μήτηρ (τοῦ) Θεοῦ = Mother of God), over her left shoulder Cyrillic inscription 'Влади́мирская Б.М.' (Vladimir Mother of God), over the child inscription in Greek letters 'ΙϹ ΧϹ' (ΙΗϹΟΥϹ ΧΡΙϹΤΟϹ = Jesus Christ), three letters (only two visible) inside the nimbus of Christ representing the continuous divine self-existence of Christ as God ('O ѾN' = The Only One who always exists); Moscow School.

Ex property of a London lady, part of her family's collection.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no. 11543-196361.

See Weizmann, K. et al., The Icon, New York, 1982; Popescu, G.A., Cristiani d'Oriente, spiritualità, arte e potere nell'Europa Post-Bizantina, Milano, 1999; Geelmuyden Bulgurlu, V., Ulf, A., Lindgren, N., Bodin, H., Balicka-Witakowska, E., Five essays on icons, Stockholm & Istanbul, 2005, fig.6, p.31.

This splendid specimen was probably originally housed in an aristocratic Russian home. The icon of the Virgin Mother of Vladimir with the infant Jesus (the original preserved in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow), probably the most famous icon of all of Russia, was thought to have been created in Constantinople in the early part of 1100s. This image is sometimes referred to as the ‘tenderness icon’, with artists attempting to show the close relationship of mother and son with their cheeks touching as they embrace.