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Home > Auctions > 29th November 2022 > Russian Icon with Virgin of Kazan

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LOT 0410

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,490 - 4,650
USD ($) 3,630 - 4,840

Opening Bid
£2,430 (EUR 2,826; USD 2,943) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0
12 5/8 in. (1.39 kg, 32 cm high).

A wooden painted board with mounting panels to the reverse, gessoed surface with central painting of the Virgin of Kazan (also called the Virgin of Tenderness) in a recess, comprising the bust of Mary and standing figure of infant Jesus, both nimbate, monograms to the upper corners; miniature figures of Saints Peter and Paul to the border; on each side of the head of the Virgin inscriptions 'ΜΡ' and 'ΘΥ' (Μήτηρ (τοῦ) Θεοῦ = Mother of God), inscription in Greek letters 'ΙϹ ΧϹ' (ΙΗϹΟΥϹ ΧΡΙϹΤΟϹ = Jesus Christ) above the child, 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); Yaroslavl School.

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. 11544-196360.

See Preobrazhensky, A., ‘The icon of the Virgin of Kazan: new data on the early history of its veneration and the most ancient copies (in Russian)’ in Чудотворный Казанский образ Богородицы в судьбах России и мировой цивилизации. Сборник докладов участников научно-просветительских чтений, (Miraculous Kazan image of the Mother of God in the fate of Russia and world civilization. Collection of reports of participants of scientific and educational readings, in Russian), Казань, 2018, pp.295-429.

The original icon, also known as the Theotokos of Kazan, is thought to have originated in Constantinople in the 13th century before it was taken to Russia. When the Turks took over Kazan in 1438, the icon was most probably hidden to keep it safe. Ivan the Terrible liberated Kazan in 1552, and the town was destroyed by fire in 1579, after which the icon was found and brought to the Church of Saint Nicholas. It was subsequently stolen in 1904 and never found again, though there are many copies in existence.