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  • Icon: St Nicholas with Scenes from his Life

    Technique:
    tempera on panel and gilding
    Dimensions:
    165x115 cm

Icon: St Nicholas with Scenes from his Life

Ancient Russia, First half of the 16th century

Icons often combined a central depiction of a saint surrounded by scenes from his or her life, as in this excellent example from the first half of the 16th century showing St Nicholas. As more descriptions of the lives of the saints appeared over the centuries, so the variety of such icons increased. St Nicholas is dressed in bishop's robes, his hands spread wide: with his right hand he makes a blessing, whilst in his left he holds an open Gospels and a cloth. To left and right of his gold halo are small circles with half-length images of Christ and the Virgin. The band of scenes running around the edge forms an attractive border to the central image and illustrates the main events in the saint's life: nativity, baptism and the miracles he performed. In Old Russia St Nicholas was revered by the ordinary people as a protector, and thus he was one of the most common subjects for icons after Christ and the Virgin themselves. Colour unites the otherwise fragmented surface of the icon, white being the dominant element. The traditions of Novgorod painting can be felt in the iconography of the small scenes, the facial types and in the bright colouring.

Authors:

School:

Title:

Icon: St Nicholas with Scenes from his Life

Technique:

tempera on panel and gilding

Dimensions:

165x115 cm

Acquisition date:

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

Inventory Number:

ЭРИ-271

Category: