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Lot 0031A
Please note that this lot, like all of our auction lots, can sell to the highest bidder without any hidden confidential reserve price - happy bidding!

Eastern Europe, Russia, Moscow, ca. late 18th century CE. Iconographically fascinating, this wooden icon shows Christ Pantokrator, also known as Christ Enthroned, with a wonderful cosmic background. The radiant design and dominant red color link it to the icons showing the "Virgin of the Burning Bush," or the "Virgin Unconsumed by Fire" which were commissioned to prevent house fires. Christ sits in the center, arms raised in blessing; behind him is a sun with a wide-eyed face, perhaps representing the Holy Spirit. Atop the sun is the Virgin Mary. Around the sun is a scene of the cosmos, painted a beautiful navy blue and inhabited at regular intervals by angels; at each corner is a depiction of one of the Evangelists. At the top is God the Father. This image is set within a border depicting saints and scenes from the Old and New Testaments: including Moses encountering the Burning Bush and St Nicholas. Neat handwriting in black labels each scene. Size: 10.75" W x 12.2" H (27.3 cm x 31 cm)

The unique style of this icon indicates that it was an expensive commission created by a skilled artist - most icons use commonly repeated imagery, while this one is a rarer portrayal. The idea of the Cosmic Christ comes from the Greek notion of the cosmos, which is the opposite of chaos - an ordered, harmonious world. In the early centuries of Christianity, Christ as a concept underwent dramatic changes - from a carpenter and prophet leading a small band of followers to, by the fifth century, the organizing principle of the cosmos and the key to the mystery of existence. As the Logos incarnate, Christ provided the reason and structure of the very cosmos: "All things were created through and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1: 15-19). In the Orthodox Christian tradition, icons sometimes show the cosmos personified, as here, drawing upon Psalm 148: 1-4: "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light."

Provenance: Ex-private Ventura County, CA collection

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Slight wear/losses to paint at corners and along edges; slight fading, but colors are still clear and all details and letters easy to see. One back slat is present.

Starting Bid


Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

18th C. Russian Wood Icon - Cosmic Christ Pantokrator

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500Mar 23, 2017
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
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