Russian Icon of the Dormition of Mother of God
Dormition of Mother of God
Oil on board, incised gold leaf on the background. Edges decorated with cloisonne enamel. 40” x 28”
Many years after Pentecost, when the apostles had already dispersed throughout the world, and angel bearing a palm branch appeared to Mary and announced her imminent death. She said she wanted to see the apostles, who came and gathered around her deathbed. Mary “fell asleep” (according to the Franciscan doctrine) without pain, as Christ descended from Heaven to take her soul. Drawn from an apocryphal source, retold in The Golden Legend, the Death of the Virgin has inspired a long series of works of art. Medieval and Byzantine art emphasize Christ’s appearance as he descended from Heavens accompanied by angels to gather the Madonna’s animula. During the 15th century, it is the liturgy around the dying Virgin that is highlighted - the candles and aspergillum, and Peter dressed in priestly vestments. After the Counter Reformation, and especially in Caravaggio’s work, the accent is on the deep humanity of the scene.
The subject of the Death of the Virgin is represented in a modest way. There are no unnecessary elements that will take viewers attention away from the main idea. The Virgin is laying on her bed in a modest surrounding, that emphasizes her humility. Apostles are gathered around her and the figure of Christ is placed above. The artist skillfully depicted the folds of draperies, especially on the foreground. Gold- leaf background and cloisonne enamel greatly enrich the whole composition.
FRAMED: HEIGHT: 40 in | WIDTH: 28 in
UNFRAMED: HEIGHT: 40 in | WIDTH: 28 in
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