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LOT 0413

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,500 - 4,660
USD ($) 3,680 - 4,910

Sold for (Inc. bp): £3,380


12 1/4 in. (1.02 kg, 31 cm high).

A wooden painted board with mounting panel and slots to the reverse, gessoed surface with painting of St John the Baptist standing nimbate with wings spread behind him, left hand supporting a bowl containing his severed head and holding an unfurled scroll with Cyrillic text 'Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,' (Matthew 3:2); right hand raised in blessing; landscape with sand-dunes and trees; gilded title above; the upper border with gilt Slavonic inscription reading 'Holy John the Forerunner'; from the Palekh Icon School, probably made in Mstera circa 1890.

Property of a London lady, part of her family's collection.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no. 11546-196366.

See Zinoviev, N., Art of Palekh, Leningrad, 1968.

The Palekh icon school emerged in the 17th century, inspired by the Moscow and Suzdal traditions of icon painting. Although preserving many features of traditional Russian iconography, the school created its own style that remained active into the 18th century. The hallmarks of the school include the frequent use of gold on the clothes of the saints and a rich palette. Bodies are shown as tall and slender and abrupt transitions between light and shadow are distinctive features of Palekh icons. The wings of Saint John derive from the double meaning of the Greek word used to describe him in Mark 1:2 - Angelos, meaning both messenger and angel. John is often called a 'Heavenly Man' and 'Earthly Angel' in Orthodoxy. At his feet is shown a small tree with an axe cutting into it, illustrating Luke 3:9, 'And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the tree...'