**Originally Listed At $500**
Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Finely delineated in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood, an icon depicting the miracle-working St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the most widely revered saint in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, flanked by two patron saints, and with apparitions of Christ and the Theotokos (Mother of God) above. Believed to possess special powers to protect the faithful, this archetypal Bishop and Saint is dressed in sumptuous episcopal vestments, w/ a cross adorned omophorion, giving benediction w/ his right hand, holding a Gospel in his left. St. Nicholas' golden halo as well as the golden background and borders are meticulously detailed with incised floral and stylized geometric motifs and impressed dots. Size: 11.875" L x 10.25" W (30.2 cm x 26 cm)
Nicholas, a Greek bishop of Myra, Anatolia in the 4th century and one of the most beloved saints of the church, who served as an intercessor, performing miracles of healing and rescue, has an interesting history. A strong opponent of the heretical bishop Arius at the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas, after slapping Arius in the face, was denied his holy insignia and tossed in jail. However, Christ and the Virgin appeared to him and gave him back his freedom and his episcopal office. Here shown with a serious countenance, a high furrowed forehead, concentrating eyes framed by arched brows, and a short, gray beard, Saint Nicholas is portrayed as a staunch champion of the Christian faith, a defender against heresy, and a healer.
Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As a focus for prayers and meditation for believers, icons serve as "windows into heaven."
Provenance: private E. G. collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
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