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  • Icon: The Nativity

    Technique:
    gesso ground and tempera on panel lined with canvas, gilding
    Dimensions:
    56x44,5 cm

Icon: The Nativity

Russia, 16th century

The Festival Tier or an iconostasis - the altar screen which divides the altar from the main body of a Russian Orthodox church - contained icons with scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin. This icon comes from just such a Festival Tier. The iconography of the Nativity had been formed in the second half of the 16th century. The Hermitage icon shows several scenes as described in the Gospels. In the centre is the Nativity itself: in the sky we see the star by the light of which the three riders - the eastern kings or Magi - were guided to the place of Christ's birth; meanwhile an angel is telling the news of His birth to the shepherds. At the bottom we see Joseph and an old shepherd in an animal skin, and also the washing of the Child. In terms of painterly style, there are features characteristic of the works of Andrei Rublev (early 15th century). The Moscow master turned to his great predecessor who had lived more than 100 years before, a feature which was typical of the Moscow school. One individual note in this icon is the blue background, rarely seen in Russian icon-painting.

School:

Title:

Icon: The Nativity

Place:

Date:

Technique:

gesso ground and tempera on panel lined with canvas, gilding

Dimensions:

56x44,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1955; purchased from a private person

Inventory Number:

ЭРИ-196

Category: