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NATIVITY OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

Made by: Unknown

On view in: Russian Sacred Arts Gallery


About this object

Three scenes from the early life of the Mother of God are depicted in this icon. In the upper register Joachim kneels on a wooded hillside and Anna within a crenellated walled garden, both praying that God grant them a child in their old age. Their eyes are lifted to God, reoresented as the Holy Trinity in mandorla surrounded by cherubim and clouds. In the lower left portion St. Anne rests on her bed after giving birth to the Mother of God, attended by maid servants. A midwife seated at the foot of the bed bathes the newborn infant. To the right, in another room, Joachim and Anna watch in delight while the infant Mary takes her first steps towards her father. Both scenes take place within an architectural setting with vividly ornamented pillars, paved floors, tiled rooves and marble stairs. The fine miniature painting of this icon is distinguished by the dotted gold line used to depict draperies. The icon's dark green border is covered with a narrow oklad of basma that is chased with a grapevine pattern and nailed to the face of the icon. Oklad is set with twenty semi-precious stones (garnets, amethyst, lapis, baroque pearl and mother of pearl) both wired on and set in metal cages, and with small attached ventsy for the figures on the upper register.

Object name:
NATIVITY OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
Made from:
Tempera on wood with gilding -- silver gilt -- and semiprecious gemstones
Made in:
Russia
Date made:
17th c.
Size:
32.5 × 26.4 cm (12 13/16 × 10 3/8 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
54.8
Class:
ICON
Signature marks:
INSCRIPTION; MARK ICON: on either side in black paint traces of an inscription remain, on the top polia traces of inscription in brown paint; there are no visible hallmarks on the oklad; the inscription on the upper right edge reads: "Saint Anne in the Vineyard Garden with tears prayed God that he may grant them two a fruit of her bosom. And Heard our Lord her prayer and gave to them a daughter, the all-pure Holy Mother of God, Our Lady," on the upper left "Saint Joachim in the desert prayed to God 31 days and begged God to grant him a child."
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973