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  • Icon: Birth of St John the Baptist

    Technique:
    tempera on panel and gilding
    Dimensions:
    31x25,5 cm

Icon: Birth of St John the Baptist

Russia, 16th century

In this standard iconographical depiction of the birth of St John the Baptist his mother Elizabeth lies on a couch while her husband, the priest Zacharia, writes the name of his son on a board; women bring gifts while the serving women get ready to bathe the child. Nonetheless, there is an unusual element in the five roundels which complement the theological meaning of the scene. Here we see the Apostle Luke, author of the Gospel story of the birth of St John the Baptist; Emperor Constantine, who put an end to the persecution of Christians; Constantine's mother Helen, who was said to have found the True Cross on which Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. The two Russian saints have their own significance: Parasceva the Good Friday, personifies the day of Christ's Passion, while St Nicetas of Pereyaslavl was much revered in Moscow during the time of Ivan the Terrible. Stylistically, the icon is very close to 16th-century Moscow art.

School:

Title:

Icon: Birth of St John the Baptist

Place:

Date:

Technique:

tempera on panel and gilding

Dimensions:

31x25,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1959; handed over by the State Hermitage Belomorsk Expedition

Inventory Number:

ЭРИ-269

Category:

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