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Made by: Aleksei Utkin

On view in: Icon Room

About this object

The youthful Mother of God is shown half-length, turned to her left in deep contemplation of the small crucified Christ before her, her hands joined in prayer. Her head is uncovered and her dark hair falls to her shoulders, leaving her right ear exposed. Her broad flat face and hands are modelled in very dark washes of color, with white highlights in the eyes. Over a gold-sprigged green underrobe she wears a red maphorion with wide gold borders and a gold star on each shoulder; a third star is set in the border above her head, framed by her initials. In contrast to her dark complexion the figure of Christ is deathly pale. Above his head is the Cyrillic inscription "Jesus Christ King of the Jews." A pale green hill is shown behind the cross with delicately painted brown plants. Dividing the dark brown kovcheg and borders is a border of exuberant red and gold rococo cartouches. The inscription "The depiction of the miracleworking Mother of God of Akhtyrkha, who appeared in the year 1739, the 2nd day of June" is written in red copperplate on the bottom polia, on either side of a medallion containing a double-headed eagle. The icon is covered with a silver oklad that includes a red velvet riza embroidered with seed pearls and pastes over the Mother of God's maphorion. The cross is engraved in simulated woodgrain, and the place of Golgotha and Christ's loincloth are in repousse. A large silver gilt venets with a floral border surrounds her head, while a small sun-burst venets surrounds Christ's. The plain ground is surrounded by a dense foliate border with baroque spandrels at each corner and a single floral chain on the outer edge. The painted inscription is repeated on a banderole beneath the kovcheg and the double-headed eagle occupies the center of the bottom polia. The back and the bottom edge of the icon board are painted a deep blue.

Object name:
Made from:
Tempera on wood -- silver -- seed pearls -- velvet
Made in:
Saratov, Russia
Date made:
31.4 × 26.4 cm (12 3/8 × 10 3/8 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
INSCRIPTION; MARK; LABEL ICON: recto: "MR" "FU" (on either side of the star on upper polia); "IZOBRAZHENIE CHUDOTVORNYIA BOGOMATERI AKHTYRSKIIA KOTORAIA IAVILAS' 1739 GODA IIULIA 2 DNIA"; verso] "X67" (in black crayon, Parke Bernet lot #); "No 17 Bottom" (on masking tape); "REPAIRED AND CLEANED JANUARY 1985 NO 6" (on masking tape); "No 6" (on label) OKLAD: on bottom edge 1) AU (cyrillic) for maker Aleksei Utkin, 1850-69 (P-L #3405); 2) S.Sh 1853 (cyrillic) for tester S.A. Shibanov, 1851-60 (P-L #3402); three fish in a shield with transverse stripes for Saratov 1847-56 (P-L #3399); "97 30" (scratched to the right of the hallmarks); mark 2) also on the lower p.r. edge of the halo; "MR" FU" on either side of the venets; the painted inscription is repeated on the lower edge of the kovcheg.
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973