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Made by: Unknown

On view in: Russian Sacred Arts Gallery

About this object

This folding shrine replicates in miniature the iconostasis, the screen of icons separating the sanctuary from the nave in Eastern churches. For Old Believer sects, who were not allowed to maintain churches and who often fled persecution by the official church, portable iconostases like this one preserved the true order and sanctity of the sacred realm. In the center panel, Christ in Majesty, the force to which all are drawn, raises his right hand in the two-fingered blessing that is the hallmark of the Old Belief.

This icon is composed of fifteen folding panels, each divided into three registers. In the center of the lowest register is the figure of Christ in Majesty flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. Next to them are the archangels Michael and Gabriel. To the right and left of Michael and Gabriel is a series of saints standing in prayer before the throne of God. The middle register depicts fifteen scenes from the lives of Christ and the Mother of God, laid out in a continuous narrative from left to right. The upper register depicts the Mother of God of the Sign in the center flanked by King Solomon and King David, and fourteen Old Testament prophets in three-quarter length. Each prophet holds a scroll (except for Noah, who holds the ark).

Object name:
Made from:
Tempera on wood with gilding
Made in:
Date made:
ca. 1700
38.1 × 148.6 cm (15 × 58 1/2 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
Credit line:
Gift of Mrs. Charles E. Dickerson, Jr., in memory of Ambassador Augusto Rosso, 1970
Featured in publication:
"Russian Icons at Hillwood","A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum","Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs"