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Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. late 19th century CE. Hand-painted with a silver oclad cover (riza or oklad, literally means trimming), a Christ Pantocrator icon presenting Christ delivering a blessing and holding an open book of Gospels, the oclad with an engraved scale-pattern and raised border, the halo finely detailed with rays, the holy book with engraved passages, the side of the lower border with maker's mark comprised of a backwards N followed by an E, an assay of 84 indicating sterling silver, and a Moscow city hallmark depicting St. George killing the dragon. A fine example with a beautifully painted image and an attractive ornamental oklad. Size: 3.625" W x 4.25" H (9.2 cm x 10.8 cm)
The most accepted translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All Powerful" and the visage of Jesus certainly projects his omnipotence. This iconic depiction continues to be a central icon of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Christ gazes beyond the confines of the image, his visage finely delineated with graceful brushstrokes, a rendering aspiring to the naturalism sought in classical antiquity and the Renaissance, this in contrast to the elaborately enameled gilded nimbus and surrounding borders featuring leaf and 'beaded' motifs – resulting in a rich balance between naturalism and spiritual transfiguration.
The oklad or riza, sometimes referred to as a revetment in English, is a metal cover (made of silver, bronze, or gilded silver as we see in this example) that not only protects the icon, but also serves to honor or venerate the figure(s) depicted on the icon. Oklads are usually adorned with repousse work and pierced to reveal elements of the underlying painting. This gilded silver oklad is complemented by the striking enamelwork adorning the Christ as Pantocrator image.
Provenance: Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC
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