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Lot 0356
**Originally Listed At $1700**

Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Skillfully delineated in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood, an intriguing composite icon featuring Mary of Egypt, an extreme ascetic and hermit, in the central raised panel, shown near the river Jordan, bare breasted and dressed otherwise in rags with an uncovered head to signify the decades she spent living in the desert during which time her clothes disintegrated. She wears the nimbus of sainthood and has an emaciated appearance. Mary is flanked by an archangel (the inscription translates 'The Holy Angel protects') to her left and Ilaria or Hilaria, a nun who lived disguised as a monk, on the right. Above is a standard deesis (intercession) composition of Christ in the center flanked by Mary on the left and John the Baptist on the right; below is a scene presumably of the Holy Land. See more about Mary of Egypt below. Size: 10.75" W x 12.25" H (27.3 cm x 31.1 cm)

Mary of Egypt ran away from her parents at the age of twelve and lived in Alexandria for seventeen years making her living as a prostitute. One day, at age thirty one, in the port of Alexandria, she boarded a ship with pilgrims who were on their way to the Holy Land to celebrate the discovery of the Holy Cross. Mary embarked on this journey thinking it would be an easy way to make money. According to Alfred Tradigo, "Once in Jerusalem, however, she wanted to visit the Holy Sepulchre, but a mysterious force held her back. She withdrew to the desert to meditate, repenting her sins and asking God to show her where she could live in penance. A voice told her to cross the Jordan, and there, in the same desert where John the Baptist had lived (and where Jesus was baptized), she lived for forty-seven years, surviving, like the Baptist, on wild fruit." (Alfredo Tradigo, "Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church." Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006, p. 325.)

Provenance: ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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#119436

Condition

Areas of surface wear and slight losses as shown. Central panel and upper deesis register show craquelure. Back slats are intact. Wired for suspension.

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Rare 19th C. Russian Icon - Mary of Egypt

Estimate $2,800 - $4,200Jul 30, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA